CCR In Disbelief at Confirmation of Gina Haspel, Outraged Former Head of CIA Torture Site Now CIA Director

May 17, 2018, New York, NY – In response to the Senate’s confirmation of Gina Haspel as CIA Director, the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) issued the following statement:

The senators who voted in favor of Gina Haspel’s confirmation as director of the CIA sent a dangerous and shameful message, domestically and around the world, of total impunity for torture when the United States is the perpetrator and foreign Muslims are its victims. Decades ago, when U.S. POWs were the ones subjected to water torture of the kind Gina Haspel oversaw at a CIA “black site,” the United States would have been in disbelief—as we are today—if the perpetrators were not only not held accountable, but promoted to higher office. The double standard here is staggering. And the impact of this even more unambiguous signal that the United States thinks torture is somehow permissible will be felt globally, by the most vulnerable, as domestically, intelligence agencies, police and prisons wardens, and  internationally, dictators, authoritarian regimes and those opposed to human rights feel emboldened to disregard the law.

Despite Haspel’s confirmation, we will continue to fight for accountability for U.S. torture, looking in particular to prosecutors outside the United States. Surely, the United States’ promotion of a known purveyor of torture to the highest level of an intelligence agency will cause the International Criminal Court to take a closer look at the CIA torture program. As we have said, “We will be following up with the prosecutor in The Hague.”

The Center for Constitutional Rights has led the legal battle over Guantánamo for more than 16 years – representing clients in two Supreme Court cases and organizing and coordinating hundreds of pro bono lawyers across the country, ensuring that nearly all the men detained at Guantánamo have had the option of legal representation. Among other Guantánamo cases, the Center represents the families of men who died at Guantánamo, and men who have been released and are seeking justice in international courts. 

The Center for Constitutional Rights works with communities under threat to fight for justice and liberation through litigation, advocacy, and strategic communications. Since 1966, the Center for Constitutional Rights has taken on oppressive systems of power, including structural racism, gender oppression, economic inequity, and governmental overreach. Learn more at


Last modified 

May 17, 2018