Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Gina Haspel gains support of Senate Intelligence Committee for CIA director confirmation

Gina Haspel gains support of Senate Intelligence Committee for CIA director confirmation

USA president Donald Trump should never have nominated Gina Haspel to head the Central Intelligence Agency.

While at least three Republican senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona, along with Rand Paul of Kentucky, have expressed opposition to her confirmation, three Democrats have said they will vote in her favor, including a key Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia.

Haspel now is all but assured to win confirmation in a vote before the full Senate that could come as early as Thursday. Haspel has not disclosed any details of what she did in connection with the program or say whether she thought it had been immoral.

Warner said he received assurances from Haspel on her views on the CIA's enhanced interrogation programme, which human rights advocates have classified as torture. "As a cosponsor of the McCain-Feinstein amendment that banned enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding, I appreciated Ms. Haspel's commitment that she "would not fail to reject a proposal" that is "contrary to [her] moral and ethical values" or that is inconsistent with 'CIA's mission, expertise, and the law'". "Nothing speaks louder than Haspel's secrecy and silence on torture, destruction of evidence, and her role in both". "We must choose leaders that consistently embody our highest ideals, rather than our darkest moments", Jones said in a statement. But some Democrats announced their support of Haspel on Tuesday, which indicated she would garner the Senate's approval and be named Central Intelligence Agency director. She joined the CIA in 1985 and has held a series of high-ranking positions at the intelligence agency throughout her lengthy career, including senior leadership positions within the agency's National Clandestine Service, which oversees the agency's spy operations overseas and its most covert operations programs.

Haspel's letter was requested by Sen.

Haspel now has more than enough support to win confirmation, as Warner was one of three Democrats to announce Tuesday that they were voting for her, bringing the total to five.

"While I won't condemn those that made those hard calls, and I have noted the valuable intelligence collected, the program ultimately did damage to our officers and our standing in the world", Haspel said in a letter, dated May 14, and released on Tuesday.

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Republicans hold a 51-49 Senate majority, making for a 52-47 vote with McCain recovering from surgery.

Haspel said in her confirmation hearing that she would disobey any order from Trump to revive such techniques.

Confirmation by the full Senate appeared likely as five Democrats — Mark Warner of Virginia, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelley of Indiana, Bill Nelson of Florida and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota — announced their support.

"Most importantly, I believe she is someone who can and will stand up to the president if ordered to do something illegal or immoral - like a return to torture". But she also claimed to have a close relationship with the president, which discomfited those already uneasy about her record.

Trump has said the country should consider using the so-called enhanced interrogation techniques.

Most Republicans are expected to back her. "Gina Haspel failed that test", said Krulak, who organized a letter signed by more than 100 retired generals and admirals expressing concern over her nomination.

"Ms. Haspel's involvement in torture is deeply troubling, as my friend and colleague, John McCain, so eloquently reminded us".

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