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tough questions

Kamala Harris relentlessly grills Gina Haspel on the morality of waterboarding

California Sen. Kamala Harris (D) formerly served as the state's attorney general, and her prosecutorial experience showed Wednesday when she questioned Gina Haspel at her confirmation hearing to become CIA director. Haspel, President Trump's pick to lead the intelligence agency, has faced opposition from Democrats due to her work in 2002 at a "black site" in Thailand where terrorism suspects were waterboarded, as well as a 2005 cable where she wrote that videos showing waterboarding should be destroyed.

Harris seized on the CIA's previous interrogation tactics in her grilling of Haspel, pressing the nominee for a yes-or-no answer on the techniques' morality. "One question I've not heard you answer is, do you believe the previous interrogation techniques were immoral?" Harris asked. Haspel began with a response about the tactics' legality and a reference to the CIA chain of command before Harris cut in: "I'm not asking do you believe they were legal, I'm asking do you believe they were immoral."

Haspel said she believed that the CIA "did extraordinary work" to keep the U.S. safe, which did not satisfy Harris. Watch the exchange — including Harris' exasperated facial expressions at 0:49 — below. Kimberly Alters