Senate Intelligence Panel Approves Gina Haspel as CIA Director

Gina_Haspel

Gina_Haspel

The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 10-5 closed doors Wednesday to advance Gina Haspel's nomination as President Donald Trump's CIA director pick, advancing the nominee to a full floor vote where she looks all but assured to win Senate confirmation.

The Intelligence Committee voted 10-5 to forward her nomination to lead the United States spy agency to the entire Senate, virtually assuring final approval of her nomination.

Panel Chairman Richard Burr, though, called Haspel "the most qualified person" to lead the agency.

Two of the committee's seven Democrats have said they are supporting Haspel, including Virginia's Sen.

Of those six Democrats, four have said they are voting for Haspel, Sen.

She requested a transfer to the CIA's Counterterrorism Center in 2001 where she started September 11 of that year, according to the Trump administration.

Several senators said Haspel was not forthcoming in answering questions about her role in the torture program or the CIA's decision to destroy video-taped evidence of the sessions.

"Most importantly, I believe she is someone who can and will stand up to the president if ordered to do something illegal or immoral - like a return to torture", Mr. Warner said.

In his own statement released after Wednesday's vote, Warner praised Haspel as "an independent voice who can and will stand up on behalf of our nation's intelligence community".

The 61-year-old Kentucky native would be the nation's first female CIA director, capping a 33-year career with the agency that has sent her to some of the world's most unsafe places as a covert agent.

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Meanwhile, the Physicians for Human Rights said it remains opposed to Haspel's confirmation, saying her assurances are "inadequate to address grave concerns" they raised earlier.

Most in the Democratic caucus are expected to vote against Haspel - with Sen. McCain is battling cancer and is not expected to be present to vote.

On Monday, Haspel wrote a letter to Warner admitting that the controversial Central Intelligence Agency interrogation technique "ultimately did damage to our officers and our standing in the world".

"There is a legal and moral responsibility that comes with operating in secrecy", Sen.

The CIA started its torture program - the heart of the controversy surrounding Haspel's appointment - in the summer of 2002, which was months after the capture of Abu Zubaydah - the first detainee the agency took into custody and initially developed its list of enhanced interrogation techniques, like waterboarding.

Haspel had already picked up Democratic support and appears on a path to confirmation.

"Ms. Haspel's role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing". Considering the GOP's slim 51-49 majority, Democrats could easily block the nominee, a career intelligence officer who would make history as the first woman to lead the CIA.

Haspel also drafted a cable ordering the destruction of videotapes depicting harsh interrogation of terror suspects after 9/11, although her boss actually sent the order.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said the nomination was not just about Haspel, but the USA grappling with its past mistakes. Trump, on the other hand says waterboarding and "a lot more" is what he demands.

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