HASPEL: Senator, as we sit here today, and with some distance between us and the events of 9/11, the Congress and indeed our nation have had an opportunity to have a debate about the interrogation standards we want to use as the United States of America. We have decided to hold ourselves to a stricter moral standard. For DOD that is defined in the army field manual. I support the United States holding itself to that stricter moral standard and I support the army field manual.
WARNER: But, Miss Haspel, that is answering on a legalistic – we’re asking you to take on a position. I understand with RDI you were downstream, not part of the policy making, but if you’re entrusted with this responsibility we need – I need to at least get a sense of what your moral code says about those kind of actions because there is the potential that this president could ask you to do something.
He obviously believes in these procedures, but even if he asked you to do something that is not directly related to the detention interrogation, but if he asked you to do something that you believe is morally questionable, even if there is an OLC opinion that in effect gives you a get-out-of-jail-free card, what will you do in that action when you are the director of the CIA?
HASPEL: Senator, my father’s watching today. He served 33 years in the Air Force. My parents gave me a very strong moral compass. I support the higher moral standard that this country has decided to hold itself to. I would never, ever take CIA back to an interrogation program. First of all, CIA follows the law. We followed the law then. We follow the law today. I support the law. I wouldn’t support a change in the law, but I’ll tell you this, I would not put CIA officers at risk by asking them to undertake risky, controversial activity again.
WARNER: Miss Haspel, my question is this. On a going forward basis, if this president asked you to do something that you find morally objectionable, even if there is an OLC opinion, what will you do? Will you carry that out – that order or not? I mean, we’re entrusting you in a very different position if you’re confirmed. I just need to know what you –
HASPEL: Senator –
WARNER: Your response to that would be.
HASPEL: My moral compass is strong. I would not allow CIA to undertake activity that I thought was immoral, even if it was technically legal. I would absolutely not permit it.
WARNER: So you would not follow the order if you felt it was –
HASPEL: No. I believe that CIA must undertake activities that are consistent with American values. America is looked at all over the world as an example to everyone else in the world and we have to uphold that and CIA is included in that.
HEINRICH: Thank you. You have repeatedly said that at the time the CIA’s use of interrogation techniques like water boarding were determined to be legal. Now, there was an opinion written by the Office of Legal Counsel. I don’t believe those actions were ever legal. They certainly didn’t meet the bar set by either the Geneva Conventions or our own Army Field Manual, and I’m not aware of a single court ruling that affirmed that opinion. Today, I’m not really interested in whether you believe those techniques were legal, but I am interested in the question that Senator Warner asked you. We got a very legalistic answer to that question. Let me ask you again, were these the right thing to do? Do – are they consistent with American values fundamentally? What you believe?
HASPEL: Senator, I believe very strongly in American values and America be an example to the rest of the world. That is why I support the fact that we have chosen to hold ourselves to a stricter moral standard.
HEINRICH: But that’s about Congress and all of us. I want to know what you think.
HASPEL: I think that we should hold ourselves to a stricter moral standard and I would never allow CIA to be involved in coercive interrogations.
HEINRICH: Where was that moral compass at the time?
HASPEL: Senator, that was 17 years ago and it’s – you know, CIA like the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps is an organization, it’s a large bureaucracy and when you’re out in the trenches at far-flung outposts in the globe and Washington says, here’s what we need you to do, this is legal, the Attorney General has deemed it so, the president of the United States is counting on you…
HEINRICH: No, I know…
HASPEL: …to prevent another attack…
HEINRICH: …you believed it was legal.
HASPEL: I’m sorry?
HEINRICH: I know you believed it was legal. I want to see – I want to feel, I want to trust that you have the moral compass that you said you have. You’re giving very legalistic answers to very fundamentally moral questions.
HASPEL: Senator I – you know, we provided the committee every evaluation since my – my training report when I first joined in 1985. In all of my assignments, I have conducted myself honorably and in accordance with U.S. law. My parents raised me right. I know – I know the difference between right and wrong.