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People Are Ripping Into The Head Of Human Rights Watch For Accidentally Accusing A BBC Presenter Of Running CIA Black Sites

The perils of Google Images.

Originally posted on
Updated on

This is Emily Maitlis, a presenter on the BBC's flagship political programme Newsnight.

And this is Gina Haspel, the new deputy director of the CIA, as announced by US president Donald Trump last night.


OK, OK, that's not Haspel, that's one of the top results for "female spy" on a stock image database that's been edited to look moodier – as she's been a career intelligence officer since 1985, there are no pictures of Haspel freely available.

So that might go some way to explaining why in the early hours of Friday morning, the head of one of the world's biggest human rights organisations somehow managed to confuse the two women.

Kenneth Roth, the executive director of New York-based Human Rights Watch, appears to have found the picture on the first page of the Google Images search results for "Gina Haspel", but the picture is taken from a Daily Express article about an episode of Newsnight this week.


Needless to say, Maitlis was surprised at the development.

But not everyone was entirely convinced.


People also started replying to Roth's tweet with news of some more Trump appointments.

When contacted by BuzzFeed News to try to clear this whole thing up, a spokesperson for Maitlis confirmed she has "never been to the Czech Republic".

Roth finally deleted his tweet shortly before 11am, four and a half hours after it was posted.

Andrew Stroehlein, European media director for Human Rights Watch, also tweeted an apology to Maitlis.

Matthew Champion is a deputy world news editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Matthew Champion at

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