Home Mark Warner Email From Tortured Detainee’s Doctor to Sen. Mark Warner’s Legislative Director Lays...

Email From Tortured Detainee’s Doctor to Sen. Mark Warner’s Legislative Director Lays Out In Graphic Detail Why Warner Should Have Opposed Gina Haspel’s Nomination


The following email, including horrific details which you may or may not feel comfortable reading, was forwarded to me by Senior Policy Counsel at the Center for Victims of Torture, Yasmine Taeb. Note that this was sent to Sen. Mark Warner’s Legislative Director, Elizabeth Falcone from Sondra Crosby, MD (Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Health at Boston University). Also note that as of a few minutes ago, there had been zero response to this from Sen. Warner’s office (unless you’re counting Warner’s committee vote this morning to confirm Gina Haspel as CIA Director.

From: Crosby, Sondra
Sent: Monday, May 14, 2018 9:59 PM
To: ‘elizabeth_falcone’
Subject: Gina Haspel nomination

Dear Ms. Falcone,

My name is Sondra Crosby and I am a physician based in Boston and a Lieutenant Commander in the Navy Reserves. I am writing in the context of Gina Haspel’s nomination for CIA director, which I strongly urge Senator Warner to oppose.

I have evaluated Mr. Abdal Rahim al-Nashiri, as well as close to 20 other men who were tortured as part of the CIA’s RDI program.  I am one of the only health professionals he has ever talked to about his torture, its effects, and his ongoing suffering.

From 2002 to 2006, Mr. al-Nashiri was subjected to the following torture:

  • suffocated with water (waterboarding)
  • subjected to mock execution with a drill and gun while standing naked and hooded
  • anal rape through rectal feeding
  • threatened that his mother would be sexually assaulted
  • lifted off ground by arms while they were bound behind his back (after which a medical officer opined that shoulders might be dislocated)

Mr. al-Nashiri was subjected to additional torture in the RDI program, some still classified, including both “authorized” and “unauthorized” forms. The CIA program has shattered Mr. Al-Nashiri psychologically, which was the intended purpose of so-called “enhanced interrogation”.

He is irreversibly damaged by torture that was unusually cruel and designed to break him.  In my over 20 years of experience treating torture victims from around the world, including Syria, Iraq, and the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mr. al-Nashiri presents as one of the most severely traumatized individuals I have ever seen.

He suffers from every symptom of PTSD.  He experiences flashbacks and suffers chronic nightmares, the content of which, while classified, directly relate to the specific torture inflicted upon him.  He experiences flashbacks, which are triggered frequently by reminders of torture.

The suffering and harm Mr. al-Nashiri and others have endured, and continue to endure, is beyond anything I have seen.
In addition, I do not want any of our service members to be  tortured by enemies following our example, as Mr. Al-Nashiri was tortured.

For these reasons, I urge Senator Warner to oppose Ms. Haspel, who did not have the courage or leadership to oppose the RDI program.

Thank you and

Very Respectfully,

Sondra Crosby MD
Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Health
Boston University

This opinion is my own and does not reflect the DoD, USN or USG.

  • Brendan

    Pretty awful list of things that Senator Warner is willing to look the other way on.

    Ignoring rape and torture is not too far off from the entertainment execs that kept hiring Cosby or working with Harvey Weinstein.

    Not the company I’d like to keep if I was ever thinking about reelection.

  • Ugh, Mark Warner speaking on the Senate floor in support of Gina Haspel….


  • Yasmine Taeb a few minutes ago: “Sad day for our country as the Senate just confirmed 54-45 Gina Haspel as the new director of the CIA. Simply put, this vote was and will be seen by our allies, enemies, and especially by the president as a referendum on torture.”

  • Harry

    Look, I’ve been a long time supporter of Warner, unsure why he thinks the perpetrator of torture should be running the CIA, he essentially gave her a free pass for future torture. Warner needed to talk to McCain about torture. Warner has no concept of torture or the results of torture, shocked that he essentially endorsed torture by voting for Haspel.