The alleged photograph of the new CIA chief torturing an inmate

CLAIM / Photo: The photograph shows new CIA chief tortured an inmate.


An image widely shared on social media and sent to as a notice, was claimed to show the newly appointed CIA chief Gina Haspel torturing inmates in Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison.

The original post shared by a user on Twittter was favorited by 500 individuals. Anadolu News also posted the image on Facebook, which was shared by 1500 people.

The person in the image is the former US soldier Sabrina Harman

However, the allegation that the image depicts Gina Haspel while torturing an Iraqi prisoner is not true. The person in the image is a former American soldier Sabrina Harman, who took part in the 2003 US operation in Iraq and was sentenced to six months in prison in addition to a misconduct discharge, due to allowing and inflicting sexual and physical abuse on Iraqi prisoners.

The subject photo was used by the New Yorker magazine on March 24th, 2008, during an interview with Sabrina Harman, who stated that they were acting without thinking and lacked good judgment at the time. The report on the New Yorker also includes other photographs of Harman in Abu Ghraib.

There are pictures of Harman with the same smile and hand gesture she has on the alleged image. One picture of Harman on Wikimedia Commons shows the former US soldier with a strikingly similar pose to one that she gave at Abu Ghraib.

Born in 1978, Harman was 25 years old at the time of the US operation in Iraq. Whereas, CIA Chief Gena Haspel was 47 years old in 2003, suggesting that it is not likely for Haspel to look as young in that period.

Same tattoos

Comparing the alleged image of Gina Haspel and Sabrina Harman’s originals from that period shows striking similarities. In both the alleged picture and Harman’s originals, there is the same tattoo clearly visible on the right wrist.

Due to her involvement with the prisoner abuse scandal in Iraq, Harman was sentenced to six months in prison by the US military court in Texas in 2005.

Gina Haspel’s appointment as the new CIA chief stirred up controversy

President Donald Trump picked now former CIA chief Mike Pompeo to become America’s top diplomat, replacing Rex Tillerson as the Secretary of State. As a result, Haspel became the new CIA chief, making the headlines with the controversy caused by her new appointment.

In 2002, it was alleged that Al Qaeda suspects Abu Zubaydah and al-Nashiri had been subjected to torture during their brutal interrogations in a secret American jail in Thailand, also known as “the black site”. Civil liberties groups and human rights organizations at the time had blamed Haspel as the senior official overseeing the top-secret CIA program.

Translation: Beril Bulat