2 Democrats join Republicans on the Senate Intelligence Committee to recommend Gina Haspel as CIA director
The Senate Intelligence Committee voted 10-5 on Wednesday to recommend the Senate confirm Gina Haspel as CIA director, The Associated Press reports. Haspel on Tuesday issued a statement claiming she believes the CIA's use of controversial interrogation techniques like waterboarding after 9/11 "ultimately did damage to our officers and our standing in the world," which was evidently enough to win over the votes of Democratic Sens. Mark Warner (Va.) and Joe Manchin (W.Va.). The rest of the Democrats on the committee voted against Haspel.
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who is undergoing treatment for brain cancer and is away from the Senate, has urged his colleagues to vote against Haspel due to her work at a CIA "black site" in 2002 where terror suspects were waterboarded. Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has also suggested he will not vote for Haspel when the vote comes to the full Senate, which could be as soon as this week. Jeva Lange
Trump's nominee to head the CIA releases statement characterizing enhanced interrogation programs as a mistake
President Trump's nominee for CIA director, Gina Haspel, has issued a statement claiming that she believes the CIA's use of controversial interrogation techniques like waterboarding after 9/11 "ultimately did damage to our officers and our standing in the world," NBC News reports. While Haspel refused in her statement to "condemn those that made these hard calls," she explained that "with the benefit of hindsight and my experience as a senior agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one the CIA should have undertaken."
The CIA's use of such programs was central during Haspel's confirmation hearing before senators earlier this month, although Haspel at the time had refused repeatedly to state that she believed the techniques used on detainees were immoral. Haspel herself worked at a "black site" in 2002 where suspects were waterboarded, and has been criticized for a 2005 cable in which she states that videos showing waterboarding should be destroyed.
Haspel's statement all but assures "that she will be confirmed," NBC News predicts. Haspel's dodging of questions about the morality of torture had irked on-the-fence Democrats during their questioning of the nominee, and Haspel will likely need a few Democrats to support her nomination to clear the Senate. The Senate Intelligence Committee will vote on Haspel's nomination Wednesday, setting the stage for a full vote in the upper chamber next week. Jeva Lange