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Jeremy Scahill: Trump CIA Deputy Director Pick Gina Haspel Ran Secret Torture Black Site

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Update on 3/13/18: President Trump today nominated Gina Haspel to become CIA Director. This segment first aired on 2/3/17.

President Trump has selected Gina Haspel to be the new deputy director of the CIA. The Intercept reports Gina Haspel was directly involved in the CIA’s torture program under the George W. Bush administration. She was responsible for running a secret CIA black site in Thailand where prisoners were waterboarded and tortured. The Intercept also reports Haspel played a role in the 2005 destruction of two interrogation videotapes that depicted the torture of prisoners. We speak with journalist Jeremy Scahill, co-founder of The Intercept, which reported on Haspel’s record at the CIA.

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This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Jeremy Scahill, Stephen Bannon was with President Trump when he okayed the raid, apparently. Can you talk about the significance of this?

JEREMY SCAHILL: Well, Stephen Bannon and Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and first lady—as she appears to be now—Ivanka Trump’s husband. Look, the fact is that Steve Bannon is a dangerous, extreme right-wing ideologue. Yes, he is a—you know, a former member of the United States Navy, but his life’s work is promoting fearmongering against immigrants and promoting what I think can rightly be called a white supremacist agenda. And let’s be clear here: Donald Trump’s administration will lie about aerial photos from his inauguration and what they show. You think they’re going to tell the truth about the details of a covert raid in Yemen that killed women and children and got a U.S. Navy SEAL killed? Let’s look at their actual response in the bigger picture.

We learned yesterday that Gina Haspel is going to be the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency. She was one of the people that ran a CIA black site where prisoners were mercilessly tortured, waterboarded, etc. And she, we understand, was the agent who led the destruction of the CIA torture tapes at the direction of the main torture ringleader, Jose Rodriguez, at the Central Intelligence Agency. That is the person who now is going to be the number two at Donald Trump’s CIA. And Susan Rice, Obama’s ambassador to the U.N., and all these other Democrats are up in arms because a Republican was bragging about her being, you know, the first woman to be named to such a high position, and that, in fact, Obama had also named a woman to a high position in the CIA. The objection is not the black site, not the torture, not the destruction of tapes, but that there was gender equality somehow under Obama, and now Trump has picked this woman. I mean, that’s the state where we’re at now in our discussion about these policies. The fact is that Trump’s administration: Islamophobes, billionaires, bigots and torture lovers.

AMY GOODMAN: I want to thank you all for being with us, Jeremy Scahill of The Intercept, Baraa Shiban of Reprieve in London and Pardiss Kebriaei of the Center for Constitutional Rights. You can go to our website to hear some of the voices from more then a thousand small grocery store owners and workers across New York who went on strike Thursday in the latest protest against President’s Trump immigration order.

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