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

Contact: press@ccrjustice.org

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 is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.

Last modified 

March 13, 2018