Central Intelligence Agency nominee toughens interrogation stance, picks up support

Senator Rand Paul speaking at the Novelis Guthrie ground breaking event on Monday

Senator Rand Paul speaking at the Novelis Guthrie ground breaking event on Monday

Gina Haspel is a step closer to becoming the next CIA director after the US Senate Intelligence Committee voted to advance her nomination.

"I do not consider that torture works", she advised the committee, however stopped in need of saying whether or not the interrogation program was "immoral" or ought to have been carried out.

Warner said he received assurances from Haspel on her views on the CIA's enhanced interrogation programme, which human rights advocates have classified as torture.

On Tuesday, Haspel said that with the benefit of hindsight and her experience as a senior agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one that the CIA should have undertaken.

On the request of Congress, the Central Intelligence Agency has declassified paperwork shedding mild on Haspel's profession in covert operations, significantly in her reported function on the company's "black web site" in Thailand.

Wyden said he would continue to seek the declassification of a Justice Department report about the destruction of more than 90 videotapes showing the harsh interrogation of one terror suspect. "We must choose leaders that consistently embody our highest ideals, rather than our darkest moments", Jones said in a statement.

The 15th member committee is comprised of eight Republicans and seven Democrats. "Ms. Haspel wants to elucidate the character and extent of her involvement within the CIA's interrogation program in the course of the affirmation course of".

Applauding the Intelligence Committee's favourable, bipartisan vote in support of Haspel's nomination to be CIA Director, Senator Marco Rubio urged the Senate to confirm her nomination. Senators Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Joe Donnelly of IN have also indicated they will vote for her, making the vote at least close.

"I believe [Haspel] is someone who can and will stand up to the President if ordered to do something illegal or immoral-like a return to torture", Warner said in a statement.

"While I won't condemn those that made those hard calls, and I have noted the valuable intelligence collected, the program ultimately did damage to our officers and our standing in the world", Haspel said in a letter, dated May 14, and released on Tuesday.

'[I] t was a mistake not to brief the entire Committee at the beginning, ' she wrote.

The vote for Haspel is shaping up to be similar to last month's tally for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was confirmed with the backing of six Democrats from states Trump won in 2016, five of whom are up for re-election this year.

Confirmation by the full Senate appeared likely as five Democrats — Mark Warner of Virginia, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelley of Indiana, Bill Nelson of Florida and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota — announced their support.

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

When Haspel offered to withdraw her name from consideration, as the Washington Post reports she did during a White House meeting in early May, her offer should have been gratefully accepted.

Two Republicans, Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and John McCain of Arizona, are against Haspel's nomination.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Gerald Staberock, secretary general of the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), said Haspel's expected confirmation is a "terrible message by the USA that torture is not a crime".

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, McCain's Arizona colleague, has said he's undecided.

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