Trump's CIA Pick Passes Crucial First Step

The Senate Intelligence Committee will vote behind closed doors Wednesday to advance Gina Haspel's nomination as President Donald Trump's CIA director pick. She looks all but assured to win Senate confirmation

With two of 51 Republicans committed to voting against Haspel, and five Democrats already indicating they will support her, it appears she is set to become the agency's first female director.

In a letter to Sen.

Haspel, a 33-year veteran of the agency, has been scrutinized for her role in its interrogation program, including her time supervising a secret facility in Thailand where an al-Qaeda suspect was waterboarded, according to the Post.

'Gina Haspel is 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, ' Burr said Wednesday. And former Vice President Dick Cheney, who was integral to the post-Sept.

"I do not support use of enhanced interrogation techniques for any objective", Haspel wrote.

During her confirmation hearings, she refused to condemn the program, but did make a statement indicating that the agency should not have undertaken its interrogation program in which al Qaeda detainees were tortured after the September 11 attacks of 2001.

While at least three Republican senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake of Arizona, along with Rand Paul of Kentucky, have expressed opposition to her confirmation, three Democrats have said they will vote in her favor, including a key Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia.

The one person who might be able to stop the Senate from voting through President Trump's pick to lead the Central Intelligence Agency is stuck thousands of miles from the Capitol as a key committee prepares to vote on her nomination. Brennan is an outspoken critic of Trump but called Haspel "highly qualified" and urged senators to view her with an open mind. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., also said she would back Haspel, further bolstering her bid.

Tortured himself while a prisoner of war in Vietnam, McCain cited Haspel's role in the interrogation program, saying the country should only use methods to keep itself safe that are "as right and just as the values we aspire to live up to and promote in the world". Former CIA Director John Brennan contacted her, Warner, and Sens.

Manchin is facing a tough re-election challenge this year in a deep-red state, and can't afford to be painted as soft of terrorism.

Haspel testified at a Senate hearing that torture does not work as an interrogation technique and that, as director, her strong "moral compass" would ensure she did not carry out any administrative directive she found objectionable. As a candidate, Trump said he supports the use of waterboarding or worse tactics.

But for Warner, and for the Democrats who followed his lead to also announce their support for Haspel on Tuesday, it was enough. "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".

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