Gina Haspel, CIA pick, easily clears intel committee

Remigio Civitarese
Mag 16, 2018

"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.

Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump's nominee to head the CIA, won the backing of the Senate intelligence committee on Wednesday, paving the way for her expected confirmation to lead the spy agency. King and other senators are still pushing the Trump administration to allow all senators access to a Justice Department report detailing Haspel's role in ordering the destruction of tapes that showed waterboarding in 2005.

Haspel, 61, is the acting CIA director, and she has yet to be confirmed by Congress after facing backlash from politicians over her intelligence career.

Haspel, a 33-year veteran of the agency, has been scrutinized for her role in its interrogation program, including her time supervising a secret facility in Thailand where an al-Qaeda suspect was waterboarded, according to the Post.

The Intelligence Committee voted 10-5 to forward her nomination to the entire Senate, virtually assuring that she will earn final approval to lead the U.S. spy agency, replacing Mike Pompeo, who is now secretary of state. "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". He likened that to a "stacking of the deck" and said he would continue to seek the declassification of details about her past activities at the agency.

Haspel pledged at her confirmation hearing that she would never restart the interrogation program put in place after the September 11 attacks, but did not go as far as saying it should not have been started.

Though Haspel's nomination has gained steam, it's not yet a given that she will confirmed. The Senate adopted that rule change in 2015 as part of the annual defense authorization bill by a vote of 78 to 21. But she also claimed to have a close relationship with the president, which discomfited those already uneasy about her record. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the panel. The only Senate Republicans who are not expected to vote for her are Kentucky's Rand Paul and Arizona's John McCain, who is battling cancer.

Haspel's opponents, however, continue to weigh into the debate.

Heidi Heitkamp announced she would support Gina Haspel's bid to lead the CIA Tuesday joining a few fellow Democratic senators who have likely sealed her confirmation. "Her statement today that the "enhanced interrogation program is not one the Central Intelligence Agency should have undertaken" has not relieved my concerns, which are rooted in both the responsibility I feel as a Senator and in my own deeply held faith", Senator Jones said.

Daphne Eviatar with Amnesty International on Tuesday called Haspel's nomination an "affront to human rights". In comments aimed at clarifying her position on now-banned torture techniques, Haspel said that she would "refuse to undertake any proposed activity that is contrary to my moral and ethical values".

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