New CIA director Gina Hapsel 

The 20th member of this White House administration to walk, lemming-like, over the edge into oblivion, has been confirmed: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is gone, just in time for the North Korean summit. This makes room for Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo to become Secretary of State, and deputy director Gina Hapsel to step up into the top job at the CIA. 

Here’s a quick cheat sheet on each of them:

Gina Hapsel

  • As the War on Terror ramped up in 2002, Hapsel ran a CIA “black site” prison in Thailand, which held alleged Al-Qaeda members Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Abu Zubaydah.
  • According to CIA cables, Zubaydah in particular was subject to gruesome torture. He was waterboarded, confined, deprived of sleep, and ritually humiliated while protesting that he had no further information to give.
  • In 2005, Hapsel signed off on the decision to have video of these techniques destroyed. She faced no charges.
  • When Trump appointed Hapsel deputy director of the CIA late last year, it was taken by many to be an endorsement of torture.

Mike Pompeo

  • When running for the House of Representatives in 2010, Pompeo shared a blog post to his Facebook and Twitter followers that described his Democrat opponent Raj Goyle (who is of Indian descent) as “just another turban topper”. Pompeo apologised, and said it was inadvertent.
  • In the aftermath of the 2013 Boston marathon bombing, Pompeo condemned the “deafening silence” of Muslim leaders and described them as “potentially complicit in these acts”. Muslim groups then called his claims “false and irresponsible”, citing Muslim leaders’ ongoing condemnation of terrorism.
  • As The Atlantic has previously notedPompeo has an odd fixation with former president Barack Obama and his supposed sympathies with Islamic terrorism. Pompeo has claimed Obama is on the wrong side in the war between the “Christian West and the Islamic East”.
  • Pompeo has defended the use of waterboarding by the Bush administration, doesn’t believe it is torture and has praised the people who do it as heroes. 

When announcing Tillerson’s sacking this morning, Trump — who said during his campaign that he’d “do a hell of a lot worse” than waterboard terrorist suspects, and spent years promulgating the myth that Obama was secretly born in Kenya — said that Pompeo represented a closer “mindset” to his own.

We suspect that may be one of the truer things he’s said since taking office.

Peter Fray

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