Human Rights Attorneys Outraged by Pompeo for State, Torturer Haspel for CIA

March 13, 2018 New York – In response to news that Donald Trump is replacing Rex Tillerson at the State Department with Mike Pompeo, who currently heads the CIA, and naming Gina Haspel to head the CIA, Vincent Warren, Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) made the statement below. The Center for Constitutional Rights represents victims of the CIA Torture Program, including Sharqawi Al Hajj and Guled Duran, and has recently urged the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into the Bush administration’s CIA torture program.

During the Bush administration, Gina Haspel oversaw the torture of Abu Zubaydah and others at a CIA Black Site in Thailand, where he was waterboarded 83 times. She was then instrumental in the destruction of the tapes of those interrogations, which were evidence of torture. She is unfit to lead the CIA. Gina Haspel should be prosecuted not promoted.

We further oppose Mike Pompeo’s appointment to head the State Department because he is a loose cannon who acts before he thinks, the opposite of the temperament required for the top diplomatic job. He, too, has defended and endorsed torture and characterized those complicit in the CIA torture program as “patriots.”

Much as their appointments are a disaster for the country and the world, and the Senate must not confirm either nominee, they could not be a better fit for an incompetent and irrational president with contempt for diplomacy, the rule of law, and the most basic tenets of democracy.

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 

March 13, 2018