Published: Wed, May 16, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Senate committee to vote on Trump's Central Intelligence Agency director nominee

Senate committee to vote on Trump's Central Intelligence Agency director nominee

The Senate Intelligence Committee voted Wednesday to advance the nomination of Gina Haspel to be CIA director, setting up a confirmation vote in the full Senate that Haspel is poised to win.

The Committee voted 10-5 Wednesday in favor of Haspel, who must now be confirmed before the entire Senate body before she can become the next Central Intelligence Agency director. Mark Warner of Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.The New York Times reports that Senate President Mitch McConnell of Kentucky now expects to call for a confirmation vote by the end of this week and Haspel now is expected to be confirmed.

In announcing his support Tuesday, Warner, the top Democrat on the intelligence committee, said Haspel has been "professional and forthright" with the panel.

McCain said last week he found it "disturbing" that Haspel had a role overseeing torture and could not back her nomination.

Haspel faces opposition from a majority of Democrats and human rights groups for her role in the George W. Bush administration's interrogation and detention program, which critics say amounted to torture.

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Haspel had already picked up Democratic support and appears on a path to confirmation. Haspel has vowed not to restart such a program, but has declined to disclose details about her involvement. There is a legal and moral responsibility that comes with operating in secrecy.

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. Some of Ms. Haspel's past actions and beliefs did not meet that standard.

The four Democrats supporting Haspel are: Warner, Manchin, Joe Donnelly of IN, and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. "Most importantly, 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".

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

Trump himself has said the country should consider resuming the use of harsh interrogation techniques. Nearly all Senate Republicans are likely to vote for Haspel. 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.

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