A retired CIA analyst turned antiwar activist was forcibly removed from the Intelligence Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday. Ray McGovern, supporter and endorser of the Women’s March on the Pentagon, demanded answers during Gina Haspel’s confirmation hearing but was prevented from receiving them.
Haspel is the acting head of the CIA and has been nominated to replace Mike Pompeo as director of the CIA. Haspel covered up torture when she “carried out an order to destroy videotapes of the waterboarding” that took place at a CIA black site under her watch and has been criticized for it since her nomination.
Another protester has been forcibly dragged out—who appears to be Ray McGovern. (H/t @attackerman) pic.twitter.com/KaOyyV4GVc
— Katie Bo Williams (@KatieBoWill) May 9, 2018
McGovern, a well known antiwar activist, formerly chaired the National Intelligence Estimates, prepared the President’s Daily Brief under Reagan and McGovern served in the CIA for 27 years. He served in the Vietnam War and was the recipient of the Intelligence Commendation Medal at his retirement, which he returned in 2006 in protest of the CIA’s torture practices.
During the hearing, Haspel promised not to create another torture program but refused to condemn past CIA torture programs. McGovern interrupted questioning relating to “enhanced interrogation techniques” from Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, demanding that she respond specifically to questions regarding the CIA black site in Thailand and the torture of suspects that took place there. As a result, Sen. Richard Burr, the head of the committee, ordered Capitol Police to remove McGovern from the hearing.
Capitol Police responded quickly and with force to McGovern’s verbal questioning, proceeding to shove him out the door and throw him to the ground. McGovern could be heard pleading with the officers to not hurt his dislocated shoulder to which the police repeatedly yelled “Stop resisting!”
Warning: police violence—— Ray McGovern, a former CIA analyst and whistleblower, spoke out during Gina Haspel’s confirmation hearing against her participation in the CIA’s rendition and torture program. He was brutalized by police who ripped him out of the hearing room and while he shouted that they had dislocated his arm they continued to shove him into the ground. This violent suppression of peaceful protest is unconscionable!!! #BlockHaspel(Call your Senators and tell them to vote NO on Haspel to head the CIA! Congressional switchboard: (202) 224-3121.)
McGovern managed to yell something about waterboarding as another protestor yelled “Bloody Gina!” and “You are a torturer!” before also being removed by police.
According to another well known CIA whistleblower, John Kiriakou, Haspel was nicknamed “Bloody Gina” by her CIA colleagues. Kiriakou also claims that Haspel willingly look part in torture herself. Kiriakou spent time in prison for exposing the very torture that Haspel was tasked with covering up and, thus far, has been the only person to serve time in relation to the torture engaged in at CIA black sites.
Haspel’s questioning continued after the two protesters were removed, seemingly insisting that no comparisons can be made between terrorists and CIA agents when it comes to who deserves to be tortured.
McGovern has been outspoken in his opposition to Haspel’s nomination in addition to the immorality and ineffectiveness of torture. Only days ago he penned an opinion piece titled “Will a Torturer Become CIA Director?”
In 2003, McGovern created Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity, an outspoken group of former CIA employees who have called out former presidents George W. Bush and Barak Obama as well as current U.S. President Donald Trump.
It would behoove the greater U.S. population to take note of the situation in which a retired CIA analyst, having served his country for nearly 30 years, was forcefully removed from a Senate hearing for simply exposing and demanding answers related to torture engaged in by someone who will likely be tasked with serving America.