To discuss President Donald Trump’s selection of Gina Haspel to head the CIA, we’re joined by Joseph Margulies, a professor of law and government at Cornell University. The former Northwestern University professor leads a team of attorneys representing Guantanamo Bay detainee Abu Zubaydah. Margulies was also the counsel of record in Rasul v. Bush, the Supreme Court case that affirmed the rights of Guantanamo detainees to challenge their imprisonment in court.
Haspel is a controversial choice who oversaw CIA torture “black sites.” These were installations set up by the U.S. in foreign countries to subvert U.S. laws on torture. As a CIA deputy director, Haspel personally oversaw practices the Geneva Convention defines as torture at a black site in Thailand. At this particular black site, according to a New York Times report, “Mr. Zubaydah alone was waterboarded 83 times in a single month, had his head repeatedly slammed into walls and endured other harsh methods before interrogators decided he had no useful information to provide.” Haspel also reportedly mocked Zubaydah during his torture.