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McCain urges Senate to reject Haspel's nomination for CIA director
10 May 2018, 12:21 | Marta Robbins
CIA Chief Nominee Haspel Vows Not to Resume Interrogation Program
McCain is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which heard Haspel's testimony Wednesday, but it is unclear if McCain would be able to return for the vote. "It is not my way to trumpet the fact that I'm a woman up for the top job at CIA", Haspel said, "but I would be remiss in not remarking on".
Ms Haspel, who is President Donald Trump's choice to replace now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, is facing a tough hearing in the Senate where the narrow Republican majority makes her confirmation uncertain.
"Her refusal to acknowledge torture's immorality is disqualifying", McCain said. "I believe the Senate should exercise its duty of advice and consent and reject this nomination", his statement continued.
She will be grilled about details of her time running the covert detention site where terror suspects were brutally interrogated and senators will seek an explanation for why she wanted videos of the sessions destroyed.
Haspel, who once ran a CIA black site in Thailand, said she would not reinstate the torture program the agency ran in the days after 9/11.
President Trump is on record saying waterboarding "works". This is why Haspel's nomination is still in serious jeopardy, with expected votes split roughly down the middle, and heavily along party lines.
The question came near the end of a almost three-hour hearing from Sen.
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The Senate Intelligence Committee released a lengthy report in 2014 that concluded that the CIA's interrogation techniques were not a legitimate or useful way of procuring useful intelligence. "I remember the operative who was in charge of that", Ms. Haspel said. He said that while Haspel was one of the two officers "directly involved in the decision to destroy the tapes", he "found no fault" with what she did. There were senators who questioned the wisdom of relitigating mistakes from 17 years ago, and to them I would say we are still very much living our post-9/11 blunders in Iraq and especially Afghanistan.
Senator Kamala Harris, a California Democrat, asked Haspel four times: "Do you believe the previous interrogation techniques were immoral?"
More than 100 former USA ambassadors who served both Republican and Democratic presidents sent the Senate a letter opposing Haspel, saying that despite her credentials, confirming her would give authoritarian leaders around the world the license to say US behavior is "no different from ours".
"If Ms. Haspel is confirmed, it's going to undercut a lot of the efforts that the Department of State and other US government agencies make in promoting human rights", Ford said.
GOP Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina is telling Gina Haspel that she is "without a doubt, the most qualified person the president could choose to lead the CIA and the most prepared nominee in the 70-year history of the agency".
"The CIA can, probably, make the biggest contribution, in collection, about these countries' activities and various groups activities so that we can inform the USA government agencies that have to mount our defence", she said.
"I appreciate their dilemma and the strain of their duty", he added.
Chief among senators' concerns was how Haspel, who argued she was only following orders when instructed to draft the cable ordering the destruction of interrogation evidence, would respond to an order from Trump.
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