Politics & Policy

9/11 Architect Asks to Weigh in on Gina Haspel’s Confirmation

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (Reuters/Courtesy U.S.News & World Report)

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the principal planner behind the 9/11 attacks, has asked for permission to brief U.S. senators on his thoughts regarding Gina Haspel’s nomination as head of the CIA.

Mohammed, who was captured in 2003 and subsequently waterboarded repeatedly, has asked a military judge at Guantanamo Bay permission to share six paragraphs of information related to Haspel with the Senate, the New York Times reports. It is unclear whether the judge will rule in time for the information to be shared prior to Haspel’s Wednesday confirmation hearing.

A Senate Intelligence Committee report found that Mohammed was waterboarded 183 times, slapped, slammed against a wall, and given unnecessary rectal examinations in the weeks after his capture. During his interrogations Mohammed made a series of confessions that were later determined to be false.

Haspel’s confirmation is far from assured. A number of prominent Democratic lawmakers, as well GOP senators Rand Paul of Kentucky and John McCain of Arizona, have expressed concerns regarding her role overseeing a CIA “black site” prison in Thailand, where suspected al-Qaeda members were tortured. Though Haspel’s involvement in those interrogations remains disputed, the agency veteran has also been heavily derided for destroying video recordings of CIA interrogation sessions in 2005.

President Trump has dismissed concerns about Haspel’s previous role in the CIA, saying Monday that she has “come under fire because she was too tough on terrorists.”

Four Democratic Senators wrote to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats earlier this month asking that he declassify all information related to Haspel’s involvement in the CIA interrogation program prior to her confirmation hearing.

“The American people deserve transparency regarding the background of a nominee who will be asked to represent them, and their values, around the world,” the senators wrote. “Without making this information available to the American people, Ms. Haspel’s nomination cannot be fully and properly considered by the Senate.”

Coats has yet to comply with their request.

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