No, Joe, Don’t Roll out the Red Carpet for Torture Enablers

Dec 21, 2020

Artist Steve Powers’ installation “Waterboard Thrill Ride” is seen at the Coney Island arcade August 14, 2008 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. After a dollar bill is fed into a machine, the creation features robots performing the horrific CIA interrogation technique used on detainees at Guantanamo Bay. (Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images)



We need political leaders and intelligence community officials who acknowledge that torture is illegal under international law, inhumane, and ineffective.



For months, Morell was considered the frontrunner for CIA director, but opposition to his disgraceful defense of torture has cast a pall on his nomination. Now anti-war activists say they want to make sure his nomination is off the table, and that Biden and the Senate also understand Avril Haines must be rejected for her complicity in suppressing evidence of CIA torture.

There’s more, too.

Both Morell and Haines supported Trump’s nomination of Gina Haspel to CIA Director—a nomination that then-Senator Kamala Harris, other prominent Democrats, and Senator John McCain vigorously opposed. Haspel supervised a black site prison in Thailand and drafted the memo authorizing the destruction of CIA videotapes documenting torture.

In the words of Colonel Wilkerson, Chief of Staff for Bush’s Secretary of State Colin Powell, “Kidnapping, torture and assassination have no place in a democracy and turn the CIA into a secret police… Abuses of the kind documented in the Senate’s report could happen again.”

And they could—if Biden and the Senate elevate torture apologists and whitewashers to the White House.

We need intelligence leaders who acknowledge that torture is illegal under international law; that is inhumane; that it is ineffective; that it puts at risk U.S. military personnel captured by adversaries. The American people must send a clear message to President-elect Biden that we will not accept torture enablers in his administration.

Marcy Winograd of Progressive Democrats of America served as a 2020 DNC Delegate for Bernie Sanders and co-founded the Progressive Caucus of the California Democratic Party. Coordinator of CODEPINKCONGRESS, Marcy spearheads Capitol Hill calling parties to mobilize co-sponsors and votes for peace and foreign policy legislation. Follow her on Twitter: @marcywinogrand