Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the CIA, won the backing of the Senate intelligence committee Wednesday, paving the way for her expected confirmation to lead the spy agency.
The panel voted 10-5 to advise the full Senate to confirm Haspel, whose nomination has renewed debate over the harsh interrogation program the CIA conducted on suspects after 9/11. She has told Congress that the agency shouldn’t have used those harsh tactics and has vowed not to restart them.
The committee released the result of the vote that was conducted in closed session without giving further details. However, all eight Republicans and two of the seven Democrats on the panel earlier expressed support for Haspel. The remaining five Democrats had announced their opposition.
The confirmation vote by the full Senate could occur before the end of the week.
The interrogation program became one of the darkest chapters of the CIA’s history and tainted America’s image worldwide after the Sept. 11 attacks. Critics opposed Haspel’s nomination in part because of her role supervising a secret CIA detention site in Thailand for several months in 2002.
Haspel has not disclosed any further details of what she did in connection with the interrogation program or say whether she thought it had been immoral.
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.
“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,” according to Haspel’s answers to some 60 additional questions from lawmakers.
Source: Associated Press