Trump CIA pick Gina Haspel heads for confirmation amid resistance

Sergio Conner
May 18, 2018

Last week, Haspel faced tough questions from the Senate intelligence committee about her role in past CIA interrogations and controversial techniques, like waterboarding.

Earlier yesterday, United States President Donald Trump took to his Twitter account to showcase his support for Haspel to be elected to the top post in the intelligence agency.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said in a floor speech that Haspel "offered up nearly the classic Washington non-apology".

She requested a transfer to the CIA's Counterterrorism Center in 2001 where she started September 11 of that year, according to the Trump administration. She is exceptionally qualified and the Senate should confirm her immediately.

Sen. Angus King, the independent from ME, also voted against Haspel at the committee, saying he felt she was not forthcoming about her role in the torture program.

For days, Haspel's confirmation was in peril after several senators said they will oppose her confirmation citing her role in the operation of a "black site" prison in Thailand and the drafting of orders to destroy evidence detailing the torture.

Senator Mark Warner, the senior Democrat in the Senate intelligence committee, announced late on Tuesday that he is supporting the confirmation of Haspel, paving the way for at least two other opposition Senate members to rally behind Trump's nominee on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the Physicians for Human Rights said it remains opposed to Haspel's confirmation, saying her assurances are "inadequate to address grave concerns" they raised earlier.

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By late 2002, Haspel was running a secret Central Intelligence Agency prison in Thailand where another detainee in her custody, Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri, was subjected to waterboarding, prolonged sleep deprivation and other similar tactics.

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. John McCain, whose long-distance rejection of Haspel as he battles brain cancer at home hit a political nerve.

Most in the Democratic caucus are expected to vote against Haspel - with Sen. There is a legal and moral responsibility that comes with operating in secrecy. "I believe that she will be a strong advocate for the Agency's workforce, and an independent voice who can and will stand up on behalf of our nation's intelligence community".

Jeff Flake (AZ) announced Wednesday that he will be voting against Gina Haspel's nomination as CIA Director. Sen.

Haspel had already picked up Democratic support and appears on a path to confirmation.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said the nomination was not just about Haspel, but the USA grappling with its past mistakes. "My questions about Ms. Haspel's role in the destruction of videotapes relevant to discussions occurring in Congress regarding the program have not been adequately answered". He said he's convinced that Haspel could and would stand up to Trump, who has voiced support for waterboarding and has said "torture works".

Haspel's nomination has been marred by her involvement in the CIA's torture program, which involved detaining suspected terrorists without due process and using torture techniques to obtain information.

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