“When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.”

Quote by Maya Angelou. Interview of John Bolton.

“We are America; we don’t torture. And the moment that is not the case, I want off the train.” –  Shepard Smith

(Trigger warning! The following video is a graphic depiction of the late author Christopher Hitchens voluntarily being waterboarded in the interests of journalism. Skipping to the end… “Yes, it is torture.”)

Republicans are preparing for a weeks-long battle as they try to confirm CIA Director Mike Pompeo to be secretary of State and CIA deputy director Gina Haspel to succeed him.

Action: Read the “Open Letter” to our senators below from Indivisible chapters throughout California and ask our senators to issue strong public statements against the confirmations of Mike Pompeo and Gina Haspel. Not only will they work together to enmesh the U.S. in morally reprehensible military actions, but our enemies, taking the measure of whom we’ve chosen to elevate, will respond in kind. Along with Trump and Bolton, we can not afford this “morally flexible” gang of four.

Minimum Script: I’m calling from [zip code] and I want Senator [___] to strongly oppose the confirmations of Michael Pompeo and Gina Haspel, to demand that the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Report on Torture be made public, and to make a strong public statement against the appointment of warmonger John Bolton.

Contact your Senators
Senator Feinstein: DC (202) 224-3841, LA (310) 914-7300, SF (415) 393-0707, SD (619) 231-9712, Fresno (559) 485-7430
and Senator Harris: DC (202) 224-3553, LA (213) 894-5000, SAC (916) 448-2787, Fresno (559) 497-5109, SF (415) 355-9041, SD (619) 239-3884
Other Senator Contacts:  www.phoneyourrep.com

4/9/18 – Open Letter to Senators Feinstein and Harris

April 9, 2018

Dear Senators Feinstein and Harris,

We, the 36 undersigned Californian chapters of Indivisible, representing over 33,000 California residents, are writing to ask each of you to:

  • Cast NO votes on the confirmation of Michael Pompeo as Secretary of State and Gina Haspel as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
  • Issue strong public statements demanding that the full Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Torture Report [1] be declassified and made public [2] as a precondition to proceed with Ms. Haspel’s confirmation hearing. At the very least, information about the time during which Ms. Haspel became chief of base at the CIA black site in Thailand, including her order to destroy videotaped evidence of torture, must be made public.
  • Issue strong public statements protesting the appointment of John Bolton as National Security Advisor.

Ms. Haspel is unacceptable in a leadership role at a government agency for reasons including:

  • She was Chief of Base at one of the CIA black sites where at least two detainees were tortured [3] where she is known to have overseen the torture of at least one of them.
  • She oversaw the destruction of torture evidence [4]. In addition …she was deeply involved in the 2005 decision to destroy videotapes of the waterboarding sessions. That action came after Congress had learned of the videos and called on them to be preserved.

Mr. Pompeo is unacceptable as Secretary of State for reasons including:

  • He supported torture and called the people who tortured detainees during the Bush Administration “patriots” [5].
  • He tells Mr. Trump what he wants to hear even when Mr.Trump’s views are contrary to intelligence reports [6].
  • His advocacy for an end to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action treaty will likely push Iran to accelerate their nuclear weapons development program [7],  thereby taking us closer to yet another war [8] in the Middle East.
  • He has suggested that the U.S. should start yet another preemptive war by invading North Korea [9].
  • He is a climate change denier, having long expressed skepticism in climate science, and opposed the Paris climate accord [10].
  • He is an Islamophobe and supports Islamophobic firebrands [11].

Mr. Bolton is unacceptable for National Security Advisor because:

  • His record indicates that he will put the country on a path toward war [12].
  • He has a history of abusing intelligence analysts and subordinates when they disagree with him [13].
  • He advocated for a preemptive war on Iraq and distorted intelligence reports about non-existent weapons of mass destruction [14]. Further, he has refused to show any remorse for this grave error that resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands of American troops and cost the Treasury more than $2 trillion and counting [15].
  • Our allies in the Middle East consider him a dangerous and destabilizing influence [16].
  • His dark money super PAC, through its work with Cambridge Analytica, potentially violated laws against foreign nationals participating in US elections [17].
  • His continued refusal to shut down his PAC if appointed to serve as National Security Advisor is a substantial enough conflict of interest to disqualify him from the position [18].

These three individuals have demonstrated an appalling disrespect for human rights and the rule of law. They lack the integrity, compassion, and principles that the American people deserve at the highest levels of government. Given the authoritarian tendencies of the current president, our concerns about his advisors are heightened. These are people who will encourage rather than check his worst impulses.

The confirmation process, via our elected senators, is not only an assessment of the professional qualifications of an individual for a proposed post, but also that of their moral character as leaders of the United States of America. We believe we speak for the majority of Americans when we say that Mr. Pompeo, Ms. Haspel and Mr. Bolton are poor choices for for such powerful positions. We strongly encourage our senators to oppose these individuals from having any role in our government.”


  • Change Begins With ME – District 52
  • Cloverdale Indivisible
  • DAA Indivisible
  • Healdsburg Indivisible
  • Indivisible Auburn
  • Indivisible CA33
  • Indivisible CA39
  • Indivisible CA50
  • Indivisible Conejo
  • Indivisible Central Contra Costa County
  • Indivisible East Bay
  • Indivisible El Dorado Hills
  • Indivisible Los Angeles, CA-43
  • Indivisible Marin
  • Indivisible Ojai Valley
  • Indivisible Portola Valley
  • Indivisible: San Diego Central
  • Indivisible San Diego Districts 52/53
  • Indivisible San Francisco
  • Indivisible Santa Cruz
  • Indivisible Sausalito
  • Indivisible Sebastopol
  • Indivisible Sonoma County
  • Indivisible South Bay
  • Indivisible Ventura
  • Indivisible West Marin
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  • Nevertheless, We Persisted – Los Angeles
  • Our Revolution, Watsonville
  • Persisters, Lockwood
  • San Diego Indivisible Downtown
  • San Fernando Valley Indivisible
  • Stand Up San Francisco
  • The Resistance, Indivisible, Northridge
  • Together We Will Contra Costa
  • Venice Resistance
  •  Indivisible Windsor


1.  Feinstein, D. (2014, December 9). Senate Intelligence Committee Study on CIA Detention and Interrogation Program – United States Senator for California. United States Senator for California. Retrieved March 31, 2018, from https://www.feinstein.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/senate-intelligence-committee-study-on-cia-detention-and-interrogation-program

2.  Gerstein, J., Johnson, E., & Isenstadt, A. (2016, November 29). Feinstein still pressing Obama to declassify “torture report.” POLITICO. Retrieved April 7, 2018, from https://www.politico.com/blogs/under-the-radar/2016/11/feinstein-cia-torture-report-231978

3.  Wheeler, M. (2018, March 15). Congressional Oversight of the Intelligence Community Is Broken. The New Republic. Retrieved March 31, 2018, from https://newrepublic.com/article/147470/congressional-oversight-intelligence-community-broken

4.  Childress, S., & Boghani, P. (2018, March 13). Trump’s New CIA Director Nominee Helped Cover Up Torture. FRONTLINE. Retrieved March 31, 2018, from https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/frontline/article/trumps-new-cia-director-nominee-helped-cover-up-torture/

5.  Ward, A. (2018, March 13). Mike Pompeo, your likely new — and Trump-friendly — secretary of state. Vox. Vox. Retrieved April 8, 2018, from https://www.vox.com/world/2017/11/30/16719690/mike-pompeo-tillerson-fired-haspel-cia-state-department

6.  Ward, A. (2017, November 9). Trump’s CIA director is distorting intelligence to help his boss. Vox. Vox. Retrieved March 26, 2018, from https://www.vox.com/world/2017/11/9/16620648/pompeo-cia-trump-russia

7.  Bernstein, J. (2018, April 5). If Trump Blows Up the Deal, Iran Gets the Bomb | by Jeremy Bernstein. The New York Review of Books. Retrieved April 5, 2018, from http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2018/04/05/if-trump-blows-up-the-deal-iran-gets-the-bomb/

8.  Morello, C. (2018, March 15). Iran nuclear deal may be the first casualty of Tillerson’s ouster. The Washington Post. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/iran-nuclear-deal-may-be-the-first-casualty-of-tillersons-ouster/2018/03/15/7658056a-2855-11e8-874b-d517e912f125_story.html

9.  Campbell, C. (2018, March 14). It’s Not Just Pompeo’s North Korea Views That Are a Problem. Time. Retrieved from http://time.com/5198833/north-korea-mike-pompeo-trust/

10.  Friedman, L., & Davenport, C. (2018, March 13). Pompeo, Trump’s Pick for Secretary of State, Is a “Great Climate Skeptic.” The New York Times. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/03/13/climate/pompeo-state-department-climate-change.html

11.  Beinart, P. (2018, March 15). Mike Pompeo’s Allies on the Anti-Muslim Right. The Atlantic. Retrieved from https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/03/what-if-pompeo-talked-about-jews-the-way-he-talks-about-muslims/555680/

12.         Birnbaum, M., Fifield, A., Morris, L., Birnbaum, M., Fifield, A., & Morris, L. (2018, March 23). The return of John Bolton, a hawk on North Korea and Iran, sparks concerns around the world. The Washington Post. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/south-korea-worries-about-the-return-of-john-bolton-and-his-hawkish-views/2018/03/23/4adc68aa-2e6c-11e8-911f-ca7f68bff0fc_story.html

13.   Thielmann, G. (2016, December 14). Bolton: A Prime Mover of the Iraq WMD Fiasco. LobeLog. Retrieved March 31, 2018, from https://lobelog.com/bolton-a-prime-mover-of-the-iraq-wmd-fiasco/

14.  Beauchamp, Z. (2018, March 22). John Bolton, Trump’s ultra-hawkish new national security adviser, explained. Vox. Vox. Retrieved April 6, 2018, from https://www.vox.com/world/2018/3/22/17153338/john-bolton-national-security-adviser-trump-hr-mcmaster

15.  Trotta, D. (2013, March 14). Iraq war costs U.S. more than $2 trillion: study. Reuters. Reuters. Retrieved from https://www.reuters.com/article/us-iraq-war-anniversary/iraq-war-costs-u-s-more-than-2-trillion-study-idUSBRE92D0PG20130314

16.  Barnea, N. (2018, April 1). With friends like John Bolton, who needs enemies? Ynetnews. Retrieved from https://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-5201164,00.html

17.  Lee, M. Y. H. (2018, March 29). Cambridge Analytica’s work for Trump campaign, Bolton super PAC prompts complaint to DOJ. The Washington Post. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/cambridge-analyticas-work-for-trump-campaign-bolton-pac-prompt-complaints-to-doj/2018/03/29/0eb11424-3368-11e8-94fa-32d48460b955_story.html

18.  Rubin, J. (2018, April 5). An ethics mess is dragging down Scott Pruitt. Will John Bolton be next? The Washington Post. The Washington Post. Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/04/05/an-ethics-mess-is-dragging-down-scott-pruitt-will-john-bolton-be-next/

Additional readings:

  • The Koch brothers get their very own Secretary of State (nation)
  • Trump ousts Tillerson, will replace him as secretary of state (wapo)
  • Yes, John Bolton really is that dangerous (NYT)
  • Mike Pompeo, Climate Policy Foe, Picked to Replace Tillerson as Secretary of State (InsideClimateNews)
  • New C.I.A. Deputy Director, Gina Haspel, had role in torture (NYT)
  • Gina Haspel, Trump’s Choice for C.I.A., Played Role in Torture (NYT)
  • Senate report finds CIA interrogation tactics were ineffective (NBC)
  • Has Obama banned torture? Yes and no (Al Jazeera)
  • Giving Up the High Ground (ForeignAffairs)
  • Trump turmoil: Contentious Senate confirmation hearings await Pompeo and Haspel (USA)
  • Senate Intel Chairman Backs Haspel to Head CIA, Democrats Concerned (USNWR)
  • Tillerson says U.K. spy poisoning ‘clearly’ came from Russia (NBC)
  • Why Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo is probably bad news for Iran (CNBC)
  • With Pompeo’s Rise, Uncertainty Deepens for Iran Nuclear Deal (USNews)
  • CIA Director Pompeo Lashes Out at Iran, Compares It to ISIS (NBC)
  • Mike Pompeo on Muslims, torture and Guantanamo Bay (Al Jazeera)
  • Rep. Mike Pompeo Wants to Revive Mass Surveillance Program (McCatchyDC)




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