The 9/11 attacks mastermind, who was tortured by the CIA after his arrest, has sought a U.S. military judge’s permission to share six paragraphs of information about President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the spy agency ahead of her confirmation hearing.
Gina Haspel (61) is currently serving as the Acting Director of the CIA after Mike Pompeo became the Secretary of State. If conformed by the Senate, Haspel would be the first female head of the top spy agency of the U.S. She is facing tough questions from U.S. lawmakers on her stance on torture ahead of her confirmation hearing for the post of CIA Director.
Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who is allegedly the principal architect of the September 11 attacks, was captured in March 2003 and tortured by the CIA, a report in The New York Times said.
He had asked a military judge at Guantanamo Bay for permission to share six paragraphs of information about Haspel with the Senate Intelligence Committee, the report said.
Haspel is scheduled to appear before the panel for a confirmation hearing on May 9.
The NYT report said in the weeks after Mohammed’s capture, an Intelligence Committee report said he was subjected to the suffocation technique called waterboarding 183 times over 15 sessions, stripped naked, doused with water, slapped, slammed into a wall, given rectal rehydrations without medical need, shackled into painful stress positions and sleep-deprived for about a week by being forced to stand with his hands chained above his head.
Haspel ran a black-site prison in Thailand where another high-level detainee was tortured in late 2002. But it is not known whether she was involved, directly or indirectly, in Mohammed’s torture.
Mohammed’s request to provide unspecified information to the committee was disclosed by one of his lawyers, Marine Lt. Col. Derek A. Poteet, who is helping to defend him from death penalty charges before the military commissions system at the Guantanamo Bay naval station.
This week, Mohammed submitted a request to the judge overseeing pretrial hearings in that case. While the file is not public on the commissions docket, Colonel Poteet said it consisted of an expedited motion for permission to provide the information to the committee about Haspel.
The motion, Colonel Poteet said, included an attachment, titled, “Additional Facts, Law and Argument in Support”, containing “six specific paragraphs of information” from Mohammed that his client thinks the Intelligence Committee should know.
In excerpts from Haspel’s prepared opening statement for her nomination hearing, released by the CIA, she said, “Having served in that tumultuous time, I can offer you my personal commitment, clearly and without reservation, that under my leadership C.I.A. will not restart such a detention and interrogation programme.”
The NYT report added that during the Bush administration, the Justice Department wrote secret memos approving CIA torture techniques as purportedly lawful despite anti-torture laws. The department later withdrew those memos, and Congress enacted a law limiting interrogators to techniques listed in the Army Field Manual.