Senate Intelligence Committee votes to advance Gina Haspel's nomination as CIA director

NYT License N  A Created 2018:05:09 10:27:17

NYT License N A Created 2018:05:09 10:27:17

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 committee voted behind closed doors Wednesday morning.

Haspel now is all but assured to win confirmation in a vote before the full Senate that could come as early as Thursday. In comments aimed at clarifying her position on now-banned torture techniques, Haspel said that she would "refuse to undertake any proposed activity that is contrary to my moral and ethical values".

"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", said committee chairman Richard Burr in a statement.

At the request of Congress, the CIA has declassified documents shedding light on Haspel's career in covert operations, particularly in her reported role at the agency's "black site" in Thailand. "Nothing speaks louder than Haspel's secrecy and silence on torture, destruction of evidence, and her role in both". "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.

In this May 9, photo, CIA nominee Gina Haspel testifies during a confirmation hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Capitol Hill.

She is a career intelligence official, but her nomination has been controversial because she was involved in the CIA's post-9/11 program of detaining and harshly interrogating terror suspects. Several Democrats and at least one Republican say the full Senate should have access to a classified Justice Department report written by John Durham, the special prosecutor who investigated the destruction of the Central Intelligence Agency interrogation tapes but did not bring charges. Similarly, former CIA Director Leon Panetta made a personal appeal to Sen.

In the days leading up to the vote, it was unclear whether Haspel would have the support she needed from Democrats on the committee.

Warner has not yet said whether he will support Haspel's nomination.

'[I] t was a mistake not to brief the entire Committee at the beginning, ' she wrote. Her refusal to acknowledge torture's immorality is disqualifying. Her nomination enjoys the support of six former CIA Directors who have served under Republican and Democratic presidents, he said. Mark Warner, the highest Democrat on the panel.

But during her confirmation hearing last week, she said she doesn't believe torture works as an interrogation technique and that her "strong moral compass" would prevent her from carrying out any presidential order she found objectionable.

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.

McCain's warning resonated with several critics of the president, including his fellow Arizona Republican Sen.

Most likely now that she has the votes to be confirmed, or in the off chance to cast the deciding vote against her, U.S. Senator Doug Jones of Alabama issued a statement late Tuesday afternoon announcing his decision to vote against Haspel.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Gerald Staberock, secretary general of the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), said Haspel's expected confirmation is a "terrible message by the USA that torture is not a crime".

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