Confirmation vote for Central Intelligence Agency chief brings out Democratic rift

Lester Mason
May 18, 2018

The 54-45 vote split both parties, with six Democrats joining most Republicans in support of Haspel's nomination in the 100-member chamber. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.

61-year-old Gina Haspel will take over from Mike Pompeo who was recently made secretary of state.

But Haspel also drew fierce criticism from former generals, admirals and diplomats for her role in the CIA's now-outlawed torture program, which took place during the George W. Bush administration after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America.

On Monday, Haspel told Congress, in a letter sent to Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, that she now feels the spy agency should not have employed the harsh interrogations program used on al Qaeda detainees that included waterboarding. "Gina Haspel advocated for torture".

While in her hearing she notably declined to describe the interrogation methods as "immoral", she wrote in a follow-up letter to lawmakers that the harsh program "is not one the Central Intelligence Agency should have undertaken".

She had not expressed these emotions publicly, throughout her contentious affirmation listening to final week.


The 61-year-old Haspel, a Russian Federation specialist who spent her career in the clandestine service, becomes the first woman to lead the agency, taking over from Mike Pompeo, whom Trump recently made his secretary of state. Ron Wyden, D-Oreg., stated in an announcement Wednesday. Since joining the CIA in 1985, just a few years out of college, she has held some 20 separate jobs at the agency, including seven postings overseas.

In a speech on the Senate floor, Warner said that Haspel is "someone who can and will stand up to the President, who will speak truth to power if this President orders her to do something illegal or immoral-like a return to torture".

Haspel needed Democratic support to win confirmation because two Republican senators, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Jeff Flake of Arizona, opposed her for her role in the interrogation program.

The report stated that whereas on the black website in Thailand in 2002, Zubaydah was subjected to the controversial observe of waterboarding 83 instances and to different "stress" methods comparable to being slammed in opposition to partitions, disadvantaged of sleep and positioned in a coffin-sized field for as much as 226 hours.

"I would not restart, under any circumstances, an interrogation program at CIA", Haspel testified.

Sen. John McCain of Arizona was not in Washington for the vote however introduced final week that he opposed her nomination.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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