Veteran covert operative Gina Haspel was approved Wednesday to become director of the Central Intelligence Agency in a crucial Senate panel vote, despite her record of involvement in torture in the early 2000s, AFP reported.The Intelligence Committee voted 10-5 to forward her nomination to lead the U.S. spy agency to the entire Senate, virtually assuring final approval of her nomination.
The Senate Intelligence Committee voted today to recommend her confirmation to the full Senate. The full Senate is expected to vote on her nomination as early as this week.
For days, Haspel's confirmation was in peril after several senators said they will oppose her confirmation citing her role in the operation of a "black site" prison in Thailand and the drafting of orders to destroy evidence detailing the torture.
The CIA's post-9/11 enhanced interrogation program that Haspel was involved with, as well as torture methods and waterboarding, have been contentious topics generally split along party lines.
Three years later, she drafted a cable ordering the destruction of videotapes of those interrogations.
He said that Haspel's nomination has "strong support" even among intelligence community leaders who served under former President Barack Obama.
"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.
Haspel's letter was requested by Sen.
Committee chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, quietly nudged Democrats to support her. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), who, believing Haspel had been "more forthcoming" in private meetings, gave her a second chance to say more clearly and in writing that "the enhanced interrogation program is not one the Central Intelligence Agency should have undertaken" and that "the United States must be an example to the rest of the world".
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"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".
"In refusing to denounce torture, Haspel is effectively signaling she does not recognise the constraints of the law, which prohibits waterboarding and other forms of cruelty", Sarah Dougherty, senior fellow of the group, said in a statement.
If she passes confirmation, Haspel would become the first female director in the agency's history of over 70 years.
'I won't condemn those that made these hard calls, and I have noted the valuable intelligence collected, ' she said, while conceding that 'the program ultimately did damage to our officers and our standing in the world'.
But for Warner, and for the Democrats who followed his lead to also announce their support for Haspel on Tuesday, it was enough. "There is no reason why her confirmation should be delayed - and I look forward to advancing it expeditiously following the committee's action". "However, Ms. Haspel explained to me that the agency should not have employed such tactics in the past and has assured me that it will not do so in the future".
Bolstering the comments she made during her hearing, Haspel wrote, "I do not support use of enhanced interrogation techniques for any goal".
Most Republicans are expected to back her.
Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, McCain's Arizona colleague, has said he's undecided. McCain just isn't anticipated to be in Washington for Haspel's affirmation vote.