While the New York Times and other news outlets are reporting that Gina Haspel, President Trump's nominee to head the Central Intelligence Agency, apparently may have the votes to secure Senate confirmation even though she was directly involved in the Bush administration's overseas torture program during the Iraq war, one Alabama senator will vote no.
Gina Haspel is picking up Democratic support and is expected to get a nod on Wednesday from the Senate intelligence committee.
The Intelligence Committee voted 10-5 to forward her nomination to the entire Senate, virtually assuring that she will earn final approval to lead the USA spy agency, replacing Mike Pompeo, who is now secretary of state.
"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 written answers to some 60 additional questions from lawmakers.
She also had the support of the committee's top-ranking Democrat, Sen.
It was Haspel's reticence to say that the CIA's interrogation program was, in retrospect, morally wrong that sparked the Senate's authorities on torture - namely, Sens. They include Mark Warner of Virginia, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelley of Indiana, Bill Nelson of Florida and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.
Haspel said in her confirmation hearing that she would disobey any order from Trump to revive such techniques.
The four Democrats supporting Haspel are: Warner, Manchin, Joe Donnelly of IN, and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. Both cited her role in the torture program, which began after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and was later banned during the Obama administration.
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.
"I believe she 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 explaining his decision to vote for her.
Two Republicans, Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and John McCain of Arizona, are opposed to Haspel's nomination, and McCain isn't expected to be back in Washington for the vote while he battles brain cancer.
In announcing his support Tuesday, Warner, the top Democrat on the intelligence committee, said Haspel has been "professional and forthright" with the panel. Brennan is an outspoken critic of Trump but called Haspel "highly qualified" and urged senators to view her with an open mind. "Gina Haspel failed that test", said Krulak, who organized a letter signed by more than 100 retired generals and admirals expressing concern over her nomination.
A letter from more than 100 former US ambassadors said Haspel's confirmation would undermine diplomatic efforts to discourage torture by tyrants in other countries.