Missouri Senators Split Over CIA Director Confirmation

Sergio Conner
May 18, 2018

The 61-year-old Haspel, a Russian Federation specialist who spent her career in the clandestine service, takes over from Mike Pompeo, whom Trump recently made his secretary of state.

During Haspel's confirmation process critics said she was not forthcoming about her role in the torture program, known as enhanced interrogation, and destroyed evidence.

Responding to the president's tweet, Edward Snowden, a former contractor of the National Security Agency (NSA), wrote a note to detail the torture techniques used by CIA under a program which Gina Haspel participated in. As he had done in the weeks leading to the vote, Wyden also criticized parts of Haspel's background, the extent to which it remained classified, and her reluctance to admit, during her hearing, that the interrogation program was morally objectionable.

Six Democratic senators - Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, Mark Warner of Virginia, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Bill Nelson of Florida - voted for her. Most Republicans were in favor of Haspel, while most Democrats were not, meaning Haspel needed to sway undecided Democrats in order to be confirmed due to Republicans having a slim majority in the Senate.

"The US does not torture and it has never tortured, despite claims to the contrary", Cotton said.

The American Civil Liberties Union also attacked Haspel's confirmation, calling it "a complete disgrace to our democracy".

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Earlier this month, Trump slammed the criticism of Haspel, saying she was being targeted "because she was too tough on Terrorists. She appreciates the work of all Central Intelligence Agency officers - analysts, scientists, and support specialists, as much as she appreciates operations officers", Morell said in an online statement. They said they voted for Haspel because they thought her experience was essential in confronting today's threats from USA adversaries like Russia, North Korea, China and Iran.

Three Republicans opposed Haspel's nomination: Sens.

"She displayed the talent and expertise that make her uniquely qualified to face America's biggest national security challenges - whether in the area of counterterrorism or renewed worldwide competition amongst great powers", McConnell said.

Meanwhile, two Senators who don't have to worry about answering to red-state voters during an election year extended their support for Haspel.

Her opponents argued that it wasn't right to promote someone who supervised a covert detention site in Thailand where terror suspects were waterboarded, an interrogation technique that simulates drowning.

Last Monday, Senators and their staff briefly lost access to a memo based on the first Justice Department report, which was prepared by minority staff on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

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