BP #2- A Torturous Deputy Director and a Reflection on Rule Following

Gina Haspel, a long time officer at the clandestine Central Intelligence agency, has assumed the position of C.I.A Deputy Director. This promotion has been upsetting to many as Haspel has been known for the oversight of brutal interrogations in part of the extraordinary rendition program. The now-illegal torture methods were implemented on two terrorism suspects who were detained in a secret prison located in Thailand.

After the torture methods were deemed illegal, Haspel also took part in destroying the videotapes, which has been another major source of concern. Although the torture methods included things like waterboarding and slamming the prisoner’s heads into walls, the view within the C.I.A was that those who used the techniques were just doing their jobs.

The conflicting views of Gina Haspel’s promotion became obvious this past Thursday in Congress as it served as another issue republicans and democrats are completely divided by. The Democratic party has voiced concern on how Haspel will approach the torture issue, and the Republican party praised the decision to move her up.

The opposing views surrounding this event bring forth the question of professional responsibility. In this instance it is clear that our political parties are divided on how they perceived Haspel’s pervious actions, but on both sides of the spectrum there is acknowledgment of rule following. The difference in belief can be argued to be the category of rule following Haspel falls into.

It is very possible that the brutal interrogations committed were a product of strict obedience. In this sector of rule following we completely ignore our own judgment and listen to the decisions of someone else who is usually higher up than we are. When thinking under the mindset of strict obedience, it is common for an individual to stop reasoning and asking questions. This can be dangerous because not all rules are cut and dry, and additional human interpretation is need to ensure that no serious harm is committed. This situation seems fitting of this mindset as it would be harder for someone to repeatedly bring bodily harm onto another individual without remorse if there wasn’t a powerful person telling them to do so.

Some may also argue that Haspel’s actions were a result of interpretive obedience. While following a mindset of interpretative obedience, the individual is not enchained to the ideas of another, but rather understanding of the purpose of rules and when it’s appropriate to interpret them differently. In this instance, Haspel was clearly aware of the rule she was told to follow, but who’s to say that she did it solely because she was told to do so. The people she allowed to be tortured were terrorist suspects who possibly held information concerning the safety of the American public. After analyzing the specific situation and contemplating the certain mistakes, it is possible that Haspel committed to the rule she was told to follow as a public service.

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