In his March 20 column on CIA director nominee Gina Haspel, Rich Lowry likens Haspel’s treatment to that of Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork — but for all the wrong reasons. Haspel’s treatment isn’t “disgraceful,” as the column’s headline stated — it’s appropriate, as Haspel is clearly the wrong person for the job.

After his predecessors refused to fire Watergate prosecutor Archibald Cox, Bork did President Nixon’s dirty work, firing Cox. In the face of Nixon’s rampant criminal behavior, Bork steadfastly maintained his belief in the imperial presidency — wrong man for the Supreme Court’s job of checking government abuse.

Haspel is badly tainted, as was Bork, and for much worse reasons. In 2002, Haspel ran a CIA “black site” where “terror suspects” were savagely tortured. After being kidnapped off streets around the world, prisoners in Haspel’s torture dungeon, without even being charged with a crime, were subjected to massive waterboarding. One prisoner suffered 83 rounds of near-death waterboarding. The U.N. Special Rapporteur on torture has called waterboarding torture, and torture is a violation of the U.N. convention against torture. The U.S. ratified the convention in 1994, thus making torture illegal under U.S. law, despite George W. Bush administration findings to the contrary. And Haspel helped destroy evidence of her black site’s torture, another crime.

In other words, Haspel should be investigated, not nominated to high office.

Torture doesn’t even work. As has been repeatedly demonstrated, the tortured say whatever they think their torturer wants to hear, hoping to end their torture. Thus any information extracted is completely unreliable. Or worse, much worse — it can be disastrous. Information obtained through torture and now known to be false was used to justify the Iraq War, which has killed 4,400 and wounded 32,000 American soldiers; and has killed an estimated 600,000-plus Iraqis. The long-term cost of that ongoing war is estimated at $2.4 trillion — and counting.

Haspel might not even be able to do the job effectively. The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights is seeking an arrest warrant for Haspel for her torture-related activities — a warrant all European Union countries would be obligated to honor. That is not far-fetched. Twenty-two known and suspected CIA personnel were convicted and sentenced to prison in absentia in Italy in 2009 for a 2003 kidnapping, and one of them was arrested in Lisbon and extradited to Italy in 2015.

Torture is a very effective recruitment tool for our adversaries and it is used to justify attacks on this country. It makes America less, not more, safe.

Clearly Gina Haspel is the wrong person for the job.

Lawrence Reichard, Belfast

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