Heitkamp undecided on Haspel; says McCain's opposition 'matters'

Hannah Rogers
May 15, 2018

The top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee says he will vote to confirm Gina Haspel to be the next CIA director. Sen.

"While I won't condemn those that made those hard calls, and I have noted the valuable intelligence collected, the program ultimately did damage to our officers and our standing in the world", Haspel said in a letter, dated May 14, and released on Tuesday.

Last week, Haspel said she would not permit the spy agency to restart any kind of harsh detention and interrogation programmes.

Intelligence committee members have seen this report, but so far other senators, who will vote on Haspel's nomination later this month, have not. With a 51-49 Republican majority - and one of the GOP no votes, Sen. Stand with John McCain against torture.

Brennan told the committee at the time that he was not involved in creating the interrogation program and did not try to stop it, but "had expressed my personal objections and views to some agency colleagues about certain" techniques, such as waterboarding and nudity and others. And Former Vice-President Dick Cheney, who was integral to the post-Sept.

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The path to confirmation as Central Intelligence Agency director cleared Tuesday for Gina Haspel after she explicitly condemned the brutal Bush-era interrogation methods used on terror suspects. John McCain, out of Washington battling cancer - additional Republicans would have to join McCain in opposing Haspel for her confirmation to be in jeopardy. In November, McCain convinced Manchin to vote against Steven Bradbury to become the general counsel of the Department of Transportation because of his role in crafting the memos that authorized the CIA's use of torture in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. She declared that she would not go along with any effort to revive the waterboarding program, not because it would cause undue suffering to the victims of the torture, but because it might harm the torturers.

The letter comes ahead of Wednesday's committee vote on her nomination ― which she is expected to clear, thanks to the support of at least one Democrat ― Sen.

Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia, Hillary Clinton's running mate in 2016, announced his opposition to Haspel, although he had previously voted for Mike Pompeo to head the CIA (with Haspel as his deputy director, giving her day-to-day control over the agency). Jeff Flake of Arizona has raised concerns about the nominee.

"The United States must send a message to the world that we hold ourselves to a higher standard than our enemies".

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