The Senate Intelligence Committee moved Wednesday to recommend Gina Haspel for CIA director, setting up a floor vote that her opponents say will signal to the world whether the United States condemns or condones torture.
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. Haspel, who supervised a CIA detention site in Thailand in 2002, has told Congress that the agency shouldn't have used those harsh tactics and has vowed not to restart them. 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.
Besides Warner, at least four other Democrats, all up for re-election this year in states that backed Trump in 2016, have expressed support for Haspel. The remaining five Democrats had announced their opposition. She became deputy director a year ago and has been serving as acting director since Mike Pompeo left last month to become secretary of State.
"I believe that she will be a strong advocate for the agency's workforce, and an independent voice who can and will stand up on behalf of our nation´s intelligence community", he said. Mark Warner of Virginia. Haspel now has more than enough support to win confirmation, as Warner was one of three Democrats to announce Tuesday that they were voting for her, bringing the total to five.
The refusal to declassify the matters, Wyden said, has "only to do with protecting her own image".
Yet Nelson cited her declaration that the "enhanced interrogation program" she once oversaw - other Democrats called it torture - was wrong, and that other intelligence chiefs praised her. No charges were filed as a result of that report. King and other senators are still pushing the Trump administration to allow all senators access to a Justice Department report detailing Haspel's role in ordering the destruction of tapes that showed waterboarding in 2005.
The interrogation program became one of the darkest chapters of the CIA's history and tainted America's image worldwide after the September 11 attacks.
Though Haspel's nomination has gained steam, it's not yet a given that she will confirmed.
"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. The Senate adopted that rule change in 2015 as part of the annual defense authorization bill by a vote of 78 to 21. Haspel has already won the backing of several Democrats. Mark Warner of Virginia and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. The only Senate Republicans who are not expected to vote for her are Kentucky's Rand Paul and Arizona's John McCain, who is battling cancer and is not expected to be present for the ballot.