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BBC presenter Emily Maitlis in 'torture' tweet mix-up

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A US-based human rights campaigner has apologised for mistakenly accusing BBC Newsnight presenter Emily Maitlis of running an alleged CIA torture site.

Kenneth Roth, director of Human Rights Watch, tweeted a picture of her, saying President Trump "chose [a] woman who ran CIA black site for torture".

Mr Roth had meant to tweet a picture of Gina Haspel, named as CIA deputy director by Mr Trump on Thursday.

Maitlis replied: "Erm. This is me." Mr Roth then deleted the tweet.

Mr Trump's appointment of Ms Haspel was met with claims from human rights groups that she played a role in secret "black site" prisons run by CIA officers and contractors.

Ms Haspel, who joined the CIA in 1985, ran a prison in Thailand where terror suspects were waterboarded.

So-called black sites were secret overseas locations where the CIA carried out interrogation techniques. They were closed by the former US President Barack Obama.

image captionNewsnight's Emily Maitlis said she was "pretty sure" she had never run a CIA black site for torture

Christopher Anders, deputy director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Washington office, told the New York Times he was "gravely concerned" about Ms Haspel's appointment.

Announcing the decision, CIA director Mike Pompeo said Ms Haspel was "an exemplary intelligence officer" with an "uncanny ability to get things done and to inspire those around her".

But the BBC's Maitlis said she was "pretty sure" she herself had never run a CIA black site for torture.

A spokesman for Human Rights Watch, Andrew Stroehlein, said he had "no idea" how the mix-up had occurred.

He added: "BBC interviews can be tough but not to that level. Seriously: Very sorry. Ken will pick this up in US time."

Mr Roth tweeted that he was "sorry" for posting the wrong picture.

But this was not enough for some critics, with one tweeting: "Are you going to apologise to her?" and another posting: "'Sorry'? That's all you got? Try little harder Ken!"

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