GOP wants speedy Haspel con­fir­ma­tion

Se­nate panel OKs nom­i­nee; Warner votes in her fa­vor

Richmond Times-Dispatch - - NATION & WORLD 2 -

WASH­ING­TON — Repub­li­cans are push­ing for a speedy con­fir­ma­tion vote as early as Thurs­day af­ter the Se­nate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee en­dorsed Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s CIA di­rec­tor nom­i­nee, Gina Haspel, on Wed­nes­day.

But op­po­nents con­cerned about Haspel’s role in CIA covert de­ten­tion sites af­ter 9/11 could de­lay a vote by the full Se­nate un­til next week.

The com­mit­tee voted 10-5 in Haspel’s fa­vor, al­low­ing for her ex­pected con­fir­ma­tion to be­come the first woman to lead the CIA. Repub­li­can lead­ers in the Se­nate want to hold that vote be­fore the end of the week, but she is op­posed by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and some Democrats who could ob­ject.

Haspel’s nom­i­na­tion has re­opened de­bate about the CIA’s de­funct pro­gram of de­tain­ing ter­ror sus­pects overseas at se­cret lock­ups and try­ing to get them to talk by sub­ject­ing them to sleep de­pri­va­tion and other harsh in­ter­ro­ga­tion tech­niques, such as wa­ter­board­ing, which sim­u­lates drown­ing. Haspel su­per­vised one of those de­ten­tion sites in Thai­land, but de­tails of her work there have not been de­clas­si­fied.

Her nom­i­na­tion was ap­plauded by former top in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials and spy pro­fes­sion­als who cited her years of ex­pe­ri­ence at the CIA in mostly un­der­cover posts both in the United States and abroad. She is act­ing di­rec­tor.

Dur­ing her con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing last week, Haspel said she doesn’t think tor­ture works as an in­ter­ro­ga­tion tech­nique. “If con­firmed as di­rec­tor, I would not al­low CIA to en­gage in the use of en­hanced in­ter­ro­ga­tion tech­niques again,” she said.

Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., chair­man of the com­mit­tee, called Haspel 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.

“She has acted morally, eth­i­cally and legally over a dis­tin­guished 30-year ca­reer and is the right per­son to lead the agency into an un­cer­tain and chal­leng­ing fu­ture,” Burr said.

Five Democrats on the com­mit­tee voted against Haspel, but two gave her a nod. The com­mit­tee’s toprank­ing Demo­crat, Sen. Mark Warner of Vir­ginia, said Haspel would be a strong ad­vo­cate for the agency’s rank and file and an “in­de­pen­dent voice who can and will stand up on be­half of our na­tion’s in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity.”

Sen. Ron Wy­den, D-Ore., who has staunchly op­posed Haspel, 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.


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