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White House gears up to push CIA nominee as concerns mount

09 May 2018

Haspel, who is now the Acting Director of the CIA, has been endorsed by a host of former national security senior officials drawn from the ranks of the Intelligence Community, the Department of Defense, and the State Department.

The chairman of a Senate intelligence committee is praising President Donald Trump's nominee to serve as the next director of the CIA.

Haspel's promise to fight any attempt to resurrect the program could put her at odds with Trump, who spoke during the campaign about toughening the USA approach to fighting extremists and vowed to authorize waterboarding and a "hell of a lot worse".

Rand Paul (R-Ky.) has said he will oppose Haspel's confirmation, but he previously threatened to torpedo Pompeo's confirmation as secretary of state before reversing his position on the day of the vote.

In March, more than two dozen civil liberty groups sent a letter to Senate lawmakers asking them to delay Haspel's consideration, expressing "strong concerns" about her role in the program.

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The hearing is reopening the unresolved debate over waterboarding and other harsh techniques. Trump has taken a glib view of torture in the past, saying during the 2016 campaign that he would "bring back waterboarding, and I'd bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding". Some did. Others remained more indignant about methods authorized under a Republican president that were painful for detainees than methods authorized by his Democratic successor that killed terror suspects. Dianne Feinstein of California and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico. Joe Manchin (D-WV) May 7, 2018 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. King, who caucuses with the Democrats, says he had a good private meeting with Haspel to discuss her nomination - but has further questions for her. No, not from the nominee, Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel, but from Democrats on the panel, with a sympathetic Republican or two perhaps joining in on the action.

It took a pliant Secretary of State to not make waves about the "black sites" being set up and run outside the control of the local US ambassadors, generally the person in charge of all USA government activities, programs, and relationships with the host nation.

She is facing tough questions from U.S. lawmakers on her stance on torture ahead of her confirmation hearing for the post of CIA Director.

Warner also said he would want Haspel's commitment to cooperate in investigations into Russia's role in the 2016 US election.

Sanders said Haspel "is 100 percent committed" to continuing with the selection process and the White House is "fully confident" that she will sufficiently answer any questions about enhanced interrogation techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency. She served nearly entirely undercover and much of her record is classified.

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Especially her reported involvement in the CIA's post-9/11 so-called rendition, detention and interrogation program raises questions. Haspel said she did not appear on the tapes "as has been mischaracterized in the press".

Last week, Ms. Haspel briefly considered withdrawing her nomination over fears that the White House would not fully support her because of her role in the interrogation program.

The Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel, which signed off on the CIA's interrogation program in 2002, determined the program's legality, not career officers at the agency. They are also expected to seek an explanation for why she wanted videos of those sessions destroyed.

That response has not satisfied Democrats, particularly after the CIA did declassify an internal 2011 report written by then-deputy CIA director Mike Morell that cleared Haspel of wrongdoing over the destruction of CIA interrogation tapes.

Three years later, Haspel was involved in the CIA's destruction of almost 100 videotapes that recorded the men's interrogations, touching off an investigation by a special prosecutor who ultimately decided not to bring charges against those involved.

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White House gears up to push CIA nominee as concerns mount