Senate Panel Advances Haspel Nomination for CIA

(CN) – The Senate intelligence committee on Wednesday endorsed President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the CIA, paving the way for her widely expected confirmation.

The committee votes 10-5 in favor of Gina Haspel, whose nomination stirred controversy due to her involvement in the harsh interrogation program the CIA conducted on terror suspects after 9/11.

During her hearing before the committee, Haspel told lawmakers the spy agency shouldn’t have relied on those tactics and has promised not to restart them.

“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,” Haspel said in written answers to some 60 additional questions from lawmakers.

Bolstering the comments she made during her hearing, Haspel wrote, “I do not support use of enhanced interrogation techniques for any purpose.”

On Wednesday, the committee announced the result of its vote, which was conducted behind closed doors, but did not provide any further details.

In recent days, all eight Republicans and two of the seven Democrats on the panel said they would support Haspel. Five Democrats said they were going to vote no.

The confirmation vote by the full Senate could occur before the end of the week.

 

But during her confirmation hearing last week, she said she doesn’t believe torture works as an interrogation technique and that her “strong moral compass” would prevent her from carrying out any presidential order she found objectionable.

At present, Haspel’s prospects for confirmation by the full Senate look good. She already has the backing of a number of Democrats, including Mark Warner of Virginia, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelley of Indiana, Bill Nelson of Florida and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.

The only Senate Republicans who are not expected to vote for her are Kentucky’s Rand Paul and Arizona’s John McCain, who is battling cancer and is not expected to be present for the ballot.

 

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