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One year after this damaging story about Trump's CIA nominee, a major correction

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The Pulitzer Prize winning news outlet ProPublica is facing criticism after it issued a major correction to a story about President Donald Trump's nominee for CIA director, Gina Haspel.

Here's what happened

Haspel was nominated to the deputy CIA director post in February 2017. ProPublica published its story alleging that Haspel oversaw the implementation of enhanced interrogation techniques in 2002 at a secret "black site" in Thailand.

A year after the publication of the original story, ProPublica admitted that Haspel wasn't in charge of the site until after the specific interrogation that the outlet reported ended. Haspel was nominated this week by the president to be the CIA's first female director.

"Correction: Trump’s pick to head the CIA did not oversee waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah," read a tweet from the official ProPublica account.

"This error was particularly unfortunate because it muddied an important national debate about Haspel and the CIA’s recent history," the apology read.  "To her, and to our readers, we can only apologize, correct the record and make certain that we do better in the future."

Here's part of their retraction:

The story said that Haspel, a career CIA officer who President Trump has nominated to be the next director of central intelligence, oversaw the clandestine base where Zubaydah was subjected to waterboarding and other coercive interrogation methods that are widely seen as torture. The story also said she mocked the prisoner’s suffering in a private conversation. Neither of these assertions is correct and we retract them. It is now clear that Haspel did not take charge of the base until after the interrogation of Zubaydah ended.

Here's an excerpt from the corrected story:

When questions began to swirl about the Bush administration’s use of the “black sites,” and program of “enhanced interrogation,” the chief of base began pushing to have the tapes destroyed. She accomplished her mission years later when she rose to a senior position at CIA headquarters and drafted an order to destroy the evidence, which was still locked in a CIA safe at the American embassy in Thailand. Her boss, the head of the agency’s counterterrorism center, signed the order to feed the 92 tapes into a giant shredder.

The report from ProPublica had been widely cited in order to impugn Haspel's credentials for her nomination. The retraction will likely hurt the credibility of those criticizing the nomination.

Many members of the media remarked on the damage done by the retracted story.

MSNBC host Chris Hayes called it a "very big error."

"This is one hell of a f**king correction!" said Ian Millhiser of ThinkProgress. "This is a massive correction from ProPublica’s story on Gina Haspel," said CNN's Andrew Kaczynski.

Here's a news report about Haspel's nomination:

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