Second Democratic senator publicly backing Trump's Central Intelligence Agency pick

Geneva Stokes
May 14, 2018

As a Senate staffer involved in establishing the first postwar congressional oversight over USA intelligence agencies, it has been astounding to observe Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) not only bury the full Senate Intelligence Committee report on the CIA's torture program - but then lead a shuttered confirmation process for a new CIA director who was intimately involved in running the program.

During another high-profile confirmation fight, Trump's last-minute overture to Paul helped pave the way for Mike Pompeo to win his job as secretary of state. McCain and vote against Haspel's confirmation.

During her confirmation hearing before the Senate, Haspel said she would not restart the interrogation programs used in the past and would resist any efforts from the president to implement the tactics into the US war on terror once again.

In a statement, Donnelly said that he had a "tough, frank, and extensive conversation" with Haspel regarding her vision for the agency, and that she had learned from "mistakes of the past". "I believe that she has learned from the past, and that the Central Intelligence Agency under her leadership can help our country confront serious worldwide threats and challenge", Donnelly said, adding that Haspel "expressed to me her commitment to be responsive to congressional oversight and to provide her unvarnished assessment - both to members of Congress and the president".

"Torture is contrary to America's principles and fundamentally undercuts our moral authority on human rights".

Her nomination is contentious because she was chief of a covert detention site in Thailand where terror suspects were waterboarded. Fellow Republican Sen. John McCain has also called on the Senate to reject Haspel for refusing to acknowledge "torture's immorality".

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The Intelligence Committee's damning report in 2014 of the CIA's torture program concluded that the interrogation of detainees was far more brutal than the CIA disclosed and that top officials misled Congress, the Bush administration and the public about what they were doing. If confirmed, she would become the first woman to lead the agency. Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has said he will vote no.

In her nomination hearing, Haspel refused to give clear answers.

McCain's opposition stems from more than just his antipathy toward Trump, who mocked McCain during the 2016 election, saying, "He's not a war hero".

Washington:The CIA continues to be very concerned about potential contacts between Pakistani nuclear scientists and extremist groups and is monitoring them, US President Donald Trump's nominee to head the agency has said.

"Was Haspel simply a loyal dupe, unable to protest an accused man being sent to certain barbaric torture?"

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