Gina Haspel, CIA pick, easily clears intel committee

Gina Haspel, CIA pick, easily clears intel committee

"As Director of the CIA, Gina Haspel will be the first operations officer in more than five decades to lead the Agency", said Warner, who is the committee's senior Democrat and vice chairman.

CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel testifies at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2018.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hinted Tuesday that her confirmation vote could come as early as this week.

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. But by the time he released the statement, two key swing votes on the committee, Manchin and GOP moderate Senator Susan Collins of ME, had already announced they would vote for Haspel.

President Donald Trump's pick to head the CIA says the agency's enhanced interrogation program "is not one the CIA should have undertaken". 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.

Haspel also faced tough questions about her involvement in the destruction of 92 videotapes that showed prisoners being waterboarded. There is a legal and moral responsibility that comes with operating in secrecy. Two red-state Democrats, Senators Joe Manchin and Joe Donnelly, already announced they will back her. Some of Ms. Haspel's past actions and beliefs did not meet that standard. "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", Warner said.

The four Democrats supporting Haspel are: Warner, Manchin, Joe Donnelly of IN, and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.

"I do not support use of enhanced interrogation techniques for any objective", Haspel wrote.

But opponents of Haspel's nomination lament that McCain's fellow Republicans are paying little heed to the Navy veteran's warnings about Haspel.

Intelligence committee members have seen this report, but so far other senators, who will vote on Haspel's nomination later this month, have not. Still, McCain said her role "in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing".

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