- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 15, 2018

Gina Haspel, President Trump’s next pick to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, did not oversee the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah at a “black site” prison in Thailand, Pro Publica reported Thursday, retracting a 2017 story that had made the claim.

Ms. Haspel did run the prison but arrived after the waterboarding of Zubaydah was done, the investigative news site now says.

The New York Times published a similar evaluation this week, saying she came to the prison in late 2002 after Zubaydah’s 83 waterboardings. But she was there during three instances of waterboarding of another terrorism suspect, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the newspaper reported.

Civil rights groups have said Ms. Haspel will have to answer questions about her involvement in the black site’s operation, and some had directly tied her to the Zubaydah interrogation.

Democrats with knowledge of the situation had been more circumspect, saying instead that she had been involved in controversial activities she would have to explain during her confirmation hearing.

Waterboarding, widely considered to be torture, is now prohibited as an interrogation technique by American agencies.

After Ms. Haspel returned to Washington, she did help carry out an order to destroy tapes of the interrogation tactics being used. Her defenders say she was trying to ensure the identities of CIA operatives involved didn’t fall into the wrong hands, while critics said it was a coverup attempt.

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