Senate Intel panel backs Gina Haspel for Central Intelligence Agency director

17 May, 2018, 00:43 | Author: Irene Delgado
  • Gina Haspel, CIA pick, easily clears intel committee

The Senate Intelligence Committee voted in favor of the nomination of Gina Haspel to be the next CIA director on Wednesday. The Senate Intelligence Committee voted today to recommend her confirmation to the full Senate.

The full Senate will still have to vote to officially confirm her.

Confirmation by the full Senate appeared likely as five Democrats — Mark Warner of Virginia, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelley of Indiana, Bill Nelson of Florida and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota — announced their support.

The interrogation program became one of the darkest chapters of the CIA's history and tainted America's image worldwide after the September 11 attacks.

Numerous Democrats are still undecided about how they will vote and several have complained the Trump administration has failed to properly provide the public with a complete accounting of Haspel's record, including a classified Justice Department report prepared by a special prosecutor who investigated the destruction of the tapes.

All eight Republicans and two of the seven Democrats on the Senate intelligence committee earlier expressed support for Haspel.

Rand Paul (Ky.)-are openly opposing Haspel.

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.

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Opponents of her nomination included more than 100 retired admirals and generals, who said her role in the agency's use of torture would encourage foreign governments to torture American soldiers.

"Having served in that tumultuous time", she said, "I can offer you my personal commitment, clearly and without reservation, that under my leadership, C.I.A. will not restart such a detention and interrogation program". 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". She did not say it is.

Haspel, an undercover officer for most of her 33-year career with the Central Intelligence Agency, promised then that the program would not be restarted under her leadership, but did not go as far as saying it should not have been started.

"In refusing to denounce torture, Haspel is effectively signaling she does not recognise the constraints of the law, which prohibits waterboarding and other forms of cruelty", Sarah Dougherty, senior fellow of the group, said in a statement. The split makes it crucial for Haspel to get support from the opposition to cross the 51 threshhold for confirmation.

But she would not say that torture is immoral.

"Ms. Haspel's involvement in torture is deeply troubling, as my friend and colleague, John McCain, so eloquently reminded us", Heitkamp said.

Haspel's nominee has sparked a fresh debate over brutal interrogation practices.

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