US Senate committee okays Gina Haspel for Central Intelligence Agency

Pauline Gross
May 18, 2018

The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee approved President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the CIA, Gina Haspel, on Wednesday and she is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate as soon as next week as the spy agency's first female director.

Since Trump nominated Haspel, her confirmation has been clouded by debate over the CIA's former interrogation program.

Panel Chairman Richard Burr, though, called Haspel "the most qualified person" to lead the agency. According to him, during his 30-year career she comply with moral, ethical and legal standards.

But five other Democrats have come out in support of Haspel, joining a majority of Republicans and all but assuring her confirmation.

At the end of Gina Haspel's confirmation hearing last week, 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.

The Senate intelligence committee voted 10-5 on Wednesday to recommend the full Senate confirm Haspel.

Several senators questioned Haspel on the controversy surrounding her role in the agency's waterboarding program.

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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 risky places as a covert agent.

Yet the Senate now stands poised to confirm the nomination of Gina Haspel as CIA Director. In fact, Haspel's claims (in both the hearing and her follow-up answers) that torture did not appear on those tapes suggest that perhaps someone at the black site she ran had made the tapes unreadable in 2002. Now, one of the chief perpetrators of the crimes the report exposed is being elevated to head the Central Intelligence Agency, with the Democrats supplying the necessary votes in a narrowly divided Senate that otherwise, due to opposition from Republicans John McCain and Rand Paul, would lack the votes to confirm Haspel.

Most in the Democratic caucus are expected to vote against Haspel - with Sen. Gillibrand cited the role Haspel played in the torture of war prisoners as reason for her opposition.

Sens. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., John McCain, R-Ariz., and Rand Paul, R-Ky., announced earlier in the week they planned to vote against Haspel due to her role in the CIA's now-illegal torture program.

Those Democrats supporting Haspel did so with varying degrees of enthusiasm. In a follow-up letter to Virginia Senator Mark Warner, the Intelligence Committee's ranking Democrat, she added that in hindsight, it was a mistake to have used them at the time, and says while the program may have produced valuable intelligence, it "ultimately did damage to our officers and our standing in the world".

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 United States that torture is not a crime".

The first thing I want to do is apologize: to [accuser] Leeann, to everyone else who was part of that tour, to everyone who has worked for me, to everyone I represent, and to everyone who counts on me to be an ally and supporter and champion of women.
Trump, on the other hand says waterboarding and "a lot more" is what he demands.

Other reports by GizPress

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