Senate Intelligence Committee approves Trump's pick for CIA chief

Lester Mason
May 16, 2018

A handful of senators on the Senate Intelligence Committee voted against President Donald Trump's pick to lead the CIA Wednesday.

The committee voted Wednesday in a closed session before a hearing on the intelligence community's assessment of 2017 Russian election meddling, in which former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan and former National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers are testifying. Harris said Haspel running the CIA would not be the best "signal to the workforce of that agency, to the American people or to our neighbors around the globe". "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", said committee chairman Richard Burr.

Mark Warner, offered a surprising thumbs-up on Tuesday after Haspel, the spy agency's acting director, put in writing her belief that the CIA should never have engaged in "enhanced interrogation" techniques - now widely regarded as forms of torture.

Her defenders said she is highly qualified to run the agency and was following orders in the environment that followed the deadliest terrorist attack in USA history.

The U.S. Senate should vote against confirming her appointment - ideally, by a margin of 100-0. Susan Collins saying she would vote for Haspel's confirmation and Sen.

All of them, except for Warner, up for reelection in red and purple states carried by Trump in the 2016 election. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the panel.

A few senators remain on the fence. "There is no reason why her confirmation should be delayed - and I look forward to advancing it expeditiously following the committee's action".

With two of 51 Republicans committed to voting against Haspel, and five Democrats already indicating they will support her, it appears she is set to become the agency's first female director.

Haspel has pledged not to implement an interrogation program of that kind again. Several Democrats and at least one Republican say the full Senate should have access to a classified Justice Department report written by John Durham, the special prosecutor who investigated the destruction of the Central Intelligence Agency interrogation tapes but did not bring charges.

Haspel said in her confirmation hearing that she would disobey any order from Trump to revive such techniques.

She ran a black-site prison in Thailand where a high-level terrorist was detained and tortured in 2002.

'I won't condemn those that made these hard calls, and I have noted the valuable intelligence collected, ' she said, while conceding that 'the program ultimately did damage to our officers and our standing in the world'. "Nothing speaks louder than Haspel's secrecy and silence on torture, destruction of evidence, and her role in both". Haspel's letter went further than her remarks in her confirmation hearing last week, in which she refused to say whether the torture program was immoral.

"I believe [Haspel] is someone who can and will stand up to the President if ordered to do something illegal or immoral-like a return to torture", Warner said in a statement. But McCain, who is battling brain cancer, is not expected to come to Washington to cast his ballot. "However, Ms. Haspel explained to me that the agency should not have employed such tactics in the past and has assured me that it will not do so in the future".

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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