The Senate Intelligence Committee voted Wednesday to advance the nomination of Gina Haspel to be CIA director, setting up a confirmation vote in the full Senate that Haspel is poised to win.
"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 Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C". In our opinion, she is exactly the right person to make sure our country has the valuable foreign intelligence needed to keep national leaders well informed so that they can properly protect the American people.
Among Democrats supporting Haspel were several up for re-election this fall in states where Trump is popular, including Sen.
Doug Jones, D-Ala., said Tuesday in announcing his opposition to Haspel.
Six Democrats, however, were heartened by her pledge to never restart harsh interrogation programs, even if Trump requested. He cited a new letter in which she said that the agency shouldn't have undertaken a post-9/11 antiterrorism program that many critics say amounted to torture. Haspel now claims the Nuremberg defense of she was just obeying orders both in supervising torture and destroying the tapes.
But she has also had strong support from the White House, and many current and former intelligence officials. They are rural, noncoastal representatives of states won by President Donald Trump, places where some say the party needs to win back voters to grow beyond its urban core.
The committee's eight Republicans were joined by Democrats Mark Warner of Virginia and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. We need someone like Haspel who doesn't play the game because she understands just how bad the price can be. McCain is battling cancer and is not expected to be present to vote. In addition, she drafted a 2005 memo ordering the destruction of videotapes of torture sessions at the Thailand "black site" in the face of demands that the evidence be turned over to congressional investigators.
Haspel's nomination moved ahead despite stiff opposition - including from at least three of Trump's fellow Republicans - over her part in the CIA's use of harsh interrogation methods, including waterboarding, a type of simulated drowning widely considered torture, in the years after the September 11 attacks.
Haspel had already picked up Democratic support and appears on a path to confirmation.
"I appreciate the commitment of Ms. Haspel and her colleagues to the service and defense of our nation, and I do not doubt the skills and expertise she has gained during her long career in the Central Intelligence Agency".
Flake, however, said in his statement Wednesday that he still has concerns over Haspel's role in the destruction of videotapes of interrogations.
In an interview, Gerald Staberock, secretary general of the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), said Haspel's expected confirmation is a "terrible message by the U.S. that torture is not a crime".
"As Director of the CIA, Gina Haspel will be the first operations officer in more than five decades to lead the Agency".
Beavers said senators are making a political miscalculation if they give their support to confirm a nominee "who has helped carry out torture".