POLITICS
03/15/2018 03:13 pm ET Updated Mar 19, 2018

Publisher Offered Free E-Book Of Torture Report In Response To Gina Haspel's CIA Nomination (UPDATE)

Literary trolling.
Larry Downing / Reuters

UPDATE: As of Monday, the e-book version of the torture report was no longer free.

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An independent book publisher is making it easier to read the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report on the CIA’s detention and so-called “enhanced interrogation” program, now that President Donald Trump has nominated Gina Haspel to lead the agency.

Haspel worked as a clandestine officer in Thailand in 2002. While there, she reportedly helped oversee the torture of a terrorism suspect at a secret prison and then allegedly helped destroy video tapes of interrogations. The methods used in the tapes included waterboarding one suspect 83 times in one month.

Independent book publisher Melville House responded to the news of Haspel’s nomination by making a free, fully searchable e-book of the torture report available for download on Wednesday. 

“What’s clear from the Torture Report is that Haspel helped develop, authorize, and oversee what became one of the worst and most inhumane programs in US government history,” Melville House sales manager Peter Clark wrote in a blog post on the company’s website. “It tarnished the reputation of America and disgusted sensible people everywhere. It was evil and wrong. And it didn’t work.”

Haspel’s nomination to lead the CIA has drawn bipartisan criticism.

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the chairman of Senate Armed Services Committee who was subjected to torture during the Vietnam War, issued a statement Tuesday calling on Haspel “to explain the nature and extent of her involvement in the CIA’s interrogation program during the confirmation process.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he would oppose Haspel’s nomination because of what he called her “gleeful enjoyment” at torturing detainees.

“I find it amazing that anyone would consider this woman as the head of the CIA,” Paul, a libertarian-leaning critic of military intervention, said Wednesday.

Democrats, meanwhile, have called on the CIA to declassify documents that detail the role Haspel played in the George W. Bush administration’s interrogation and detention program. 

Americans “deserve to know the actual role the person nominated to be the director of the CIA played in what I consider to be one of the darkest chapters in American history,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, wrote in a letter addressed to the agency. 

But Feinstein, who in 2013 blocked Haspel’s promotion to acting head of the agency because of her reported involvement in the torture program, also offered some praise for the nominee earlier this week.

“Well, I have spent some time with her, we’ve had dinner together, we have talked ... everything I know is, is that she has been a good deputy director of the CIA,” Feinstein told reporters on Tuesday. “I think hopefully the entire organization learned something from the so-called enhanced interrogation program. I think it’s something that can’t be forgotten. And I certainly can never forget it. And I won’t let any director forget it.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story indicated that Haspel had overseen the torture of two terrorism suspects at a CIA site in Thailand. According to newer reports, she had not been in charge of the site when one of those men was tortured.

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