Architect of CIA torture program defends Trump CIA pick Gina Haspel: "We'd be shooting ourselves in the foot if she's not confirmed"
Brian Kilmeade: "She's going to break a ceiling here. There's never been a female CIA director before, but that didn't stop the bashing"
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From the March 14 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends:
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BRIAN KILMEADE (CO-HOST): Almost immediately after President Trump named Gina Haspel as new CIA director, the media began attacking her ties to enhanced interrogation and the so-called “black sites” in eastern Europe and elsewhere. Joining us right now is the author of the book Enhanced Interrogation, a man who helped develop the CIA's enhanced interrogation program, and has worked directly with Gina Haspel, Dr. James Mitchell will be with us now. Dr. Mitchell, on first blush when you heard about this, what were your thoughts?
JAMES MITCHELL: I think America is going to be safer with her as the CIA director. And we’d be shooting ourselves in the foot if she’s not confirmed.
KILMEADE: She's going to break a ceiling here. There's never been a female CIA director before, but that didn't stop the bashing. Listen.
KILMEADE: So after seeing that montage, do you have the same concern that those newscasters did, and Senator [Ben] Cardin [(D-MD)]?
MITCHELL: Oh, not at all. You have to remember that the program was the policy at the time. It came from the highest levels of government. It was operated under the direction of the presidency, with the president, with the consent of the National Security Agency. The attorney general approved of the program and said that it wasn't torture, and hundreds and hundreds -- hundreds of people were involved in that program in the agency, whether or not she was. And I think it's not right to hold people accountable to a different set of standards than were in place at the time. That program stopped attacks, disrupted plots, and saved lives. So, I'm not concerned about that kind of talk.
KILMEADE: Politics and reality. You know the reality. You don't necessarily know the politics. So when she's asked that question directly, "Did you torture people in Thailand, in black sites in eastern Europe?" how do you answer?
MITCHELL: I have no idea how she's going to answer that. I can tell you how I’d answer it. I would say no.
MITCHELL: Because that's not true. It's as simple as that, it's just not true.
MITCHELL: The CIA did not have a torture program. The sites are still classified, so I'm not going to opine on that. I can't confirm or deny any of that sort of stuff, and I can't confirm or deny that she was part of that program. But I can tell you that if I was asked that question that you asked me, I would say no, full stop, period.
KILMEADE: And a lot of people like you, I read your book, are proud that they were able to take the worst of the worst and stop the next attack.
MITCHELL: Absolutely. She's a hero, she should be the next director of the CIA, and America will be safer with her behind the wheel.