Saturday, 26 May, 2018

CIA nominee Gina Haspel wins Senate panel backing, confirmation expected

Gina Haspel, CIA pick, easily clears intel committee Trump CIA pick Gina Haspel heads for confirmation amid resistance
Ellis Copeland | 16 May, 2018, 22:19

The committee votes 10-5 in favor of Gina Haspel, whose nomination stirred controversy due to her involvement in the harsh interrogation program the Central Intelligence Agency conducted on terror suspects after 9/11.

The Senate Select Intelligence Committee passed Haspel's nomination by 10-5 votes.

Two of the committee's seven Democrats are supporting Haspel, including Virginia's Sen. I wanted reassurance from her that she has a moral compass and will stand up to the President and not enable his worst impulses, including getting back in the business of enhanced interrogation. "The program ultimately did damage to our officers and our standing in the world", she wrote.

Republican Senator John McCain, who was tortured during years spent as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, led a push to reject Haspel after she refused to say the brutal interrogation methods used after the 9/11 attacks were "immoral".

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. The full Senate is expected to vote on her nomination as early as this week.

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The report said that while at the black site in Thailand in 2002, Zubaydah was subjected to the controversial practice of waterboarding 83 times and to other "stress" techniques such as being slammed against walls, deprived of sleep and placed in a coffin-sized box for up to 226 hours.

Harris said she would vote against Haspel because she did not feel it would be the best pick for the agency, given her past. She already has the backing of a number of Democrats, including Mark Warner of Virginia, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelley of Indiana, Bill Nelson of Florida and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. Her written comments went farther than ones she made at her confirmation hearing.

Haspel's letter came after Republican Sen. Some of Ms. Haspel's past actions and beliefs did not meet that standard. Senator John McCain of Arizona said her role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing.

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.

In a letter to Warner on Tuesday, Haspel said she now believes the program was a mistake. Jeff Flake, who pointed to it last week as compelling and indicated it could influence his decision - suddenly putting the nomination in jeopardy. "There is no reason why her confirmation should be delayed - and I look forward to advancing it expeditiously following the committee's action".

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