Thursday, 24 May, 2018

US Senate panel approves Central Intelligence Agency nominee Gina Haspel despite torture background

CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel testifies at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washingto CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel testifies at her confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washingto
Sammy Stanley | 16 May, 2018, 22:21

The vote was 10-5 in her favor. Warner was one of three Democrats Tuesday who said they would vote for her, bringing the total to five. While many Democrats in the Senate say they oppose Haspel's nomination because of her supervision of the harsh interrogation techniques used in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, the 30-year veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency won support from Virginia's Mark Warner, the intelligence panel's top Democrat.

It will make Haspel, a 61-year-old Russian Federation specialist, the first-ever woman to lead the CIA, and the first director who spent their entire career in the agency's clandestine services. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), who, believing Haspel had been "more forthcoming" in private meetings, gave her a second chance to say more clearly and in writing that "the enhanced interrogation program is not one the Central Intelligence Agency should have undertaken" and that "the United States must be an example to the rest of the world". Her maneuvering with Warner came as the Trump administration worked overtime to attract support for her.

In recent days, all eight Republicans and two of the seven Democrats on the panel said they would support Haspel. However, a letter sent by Haspel to top committee Democrat, Virginia Senator Mark Warner, seems to have sealed the deal for Trump's nominee.

"Gina Haspel is the most qualified person the President could choose to lead the CIA and the most prepared nominee in the 70 year history of the Agency", Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., said in a statement. Susan Collins saying she would vote for Haspel's confirmation and Sen.

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

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"Torture works, ' the president said on at least six occasions as he ran for the White House". Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, McCain's Arizona colleague, has said he's undecided. Her refusal to acknowledge torture's immorality is disqualifying.

"While I won't condemn those that made these 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 continued.

'[I] t was a mistake not to brief the entire Committee at the beginning, ' she wrote.

Attention now turns to the vote by the full Senate, which has yet to be scheduled. This means that there will be more than enough votes to confirm her nomination in the final vote. But McCain, who is battling brain cancer, is not expected to come to Washington to cast his ballot.

West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin was the first Democrat on the committee to say he would support Haspel's nomination.

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