President Trump's controversial pick to lead the CIA is testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee Wednesday—and the man behind the 9/11 attacks is hoping to weigh in. Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, currently detained at Guantanamo Bay, this week asked a military judge at Gitmo for permission to share six paragraphs of information on Gina Haspel with the committee, the New York Times reports. Though his lawyers won't describe what's in the paragraphs, they say the information came directly from Mohammed and that they agreed his request was important. Mohammed was tortured by the CIA after his capture in 2003, and Haspel ran a black-site prison in Thailand in 2002 where detainees were waterboarded, the BBC reports. It's not clear whether she played any role in Mohammed's torture, nor is it clear whether the judge will rule on Mohammed's request before her confirmation hearing is over. More coverage:
- The hearing was interrupted by a protester who called Haspel "bloody Gina" before being led away by Capitol Police, reports the Independent, which has video.
- Haspel pledged not to restart the CIA's "enhanced interrogation" program, the Washington Post reports. "I would not allow CIA to undertake activity that is immoral, even if it is technically legal. I would absolutely not permit it." She said she wouldn't torture a suspect if Trump asked her to, though she added that she didn't think the president would ask her to.
- She said the "tumultuous time" during which the CIA ran its controversial detention and interrogation techniques had taught the agency "tough lessons," and that in retrospect, the agency "was not prepared to conduct" such a program. The CIA does not have the proper expertise and "is not the right place to conduct interrogations," she said.
- Trump once said torture works; asked if she agrees with that, Haspel said no, but then continued, per CNN: "I believe that in the CIA's program, and I'm not attributing this to enhanced interrogation techniques, I believe, as many people, directors who have sat in this chair before me, that valuable information was obtained from senior al-Qaeda operatives that allowed us to defend this country and prevent another attack." Sen. Kamala Harris asked if that was a "yes," which Haspel denied before continuing, "We got valuable information from debriefing of al-Qaeda detainees, and I don't think it's knowable whether interrogation techniques played a role in that."
- Per CBS News, Haspel repeatedly dodged the question of whether she considers torture immoral.
- Haspel also addressed her role in a 2005 controversy involving the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes; she said she supported destroying them due to a security risk to officers seen on the tapes, but that she herself did not appear on the tapes and she does not know if other tapes exist.
- After the public hearing ended, lawmakers began a closed-door session to discuss classified information with Haspel.
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