Published: Fri, May 18, 2018
People | By Leon Thompson

Confirmation vote for Central Intelligence Agency chief brings out Democratic rift

Confirmation vote for Central Intelligence Agency chief brings out Democratic rift

"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", Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., said in a statement following the committee's vote.

Haspel was approved despite stiff opposition over her links to the CIA's use of harsh interrogation methods, including waterboarding, a type of simulated drowning widely considered torture, in the years after the September 11 attacks.

One was in 2002, when she ran a black site prison in Thailand where officers carried out waterboarding and other harsh tactics to extract information out of suspected al-Qaida militants. They said the USA needs to close the book forever on the program that marred America's image with allies overseas.

The 61-year-old Haspel, a Russian Federation specialist who spent her career in the clandestine service, takes over from Mike Pompeo, whom Trump recently made his secretary of state.

Haspel informed Congress, in a letter despatched to Warner on Monday, that she now feels the spy company mustn't have employed the cruel interrogations program used on al Qaeda detainees that included waterboarding.

He asked how the Senate could take seriously Haspel's "conversion on torture". Bill Nelson in Florida. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Sen. Republican Sen. John McCain, who has been away from Washington all year as he battles brain cancer, urged the Senate not to vote for Haspel. The vote was largely along party lines, but six Democrats voted for her and two Republicans voted against her. Sen.

Other Trump-state Democrats, though, including Sen.

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Jones said this week that "it's just hard to get over" the torture issue.

Haspel, 61, is a native of Kentucky but grew up around the world as the daughter of an Air Force serviceman.

The CIA said those foreign postings include Europe, Eurasia and Africa, though it has declined to name the countries, saying that's classified information.

Also on Wednesday, Republican Senator Jeff Flake, from McCain's home state of Arizona, said he would be a "no" vote when the full Senate decides on Haspel, citing the interrogation program and Haspel's drafting of a cable ordering the destruction of videotapes of interrogations.

Haspel received robust backing from former intelligence, diplomatic, military and national security officials. In recent weeks, John Bolton became the national security adviser, Mike Pompeo became secretary of state, and Haspel now takes over for Pompeo at Central Intelligence Agency.

A top European Union official branded President Donald Trump selfish and capricious Wednesday as EU leaders met to count the likely economic damage US policies might inflict on the bloc and to try to rescue the Iran nuclear deal.

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