Published: Thu, May 17, 2018

Sen. Heitkamp to vote for Gina Haspel to lead Central Intelligence Agency

Sen. Heitkamp to vote for Gina Haspel to lead Central Intelligence Agency

The Senate Intelligence Committee, under the leadership of Feinstein, investigated the CIA's interrogation and detainment program for terrorists in 2014.

Unless Ms. Haspel takes that step, she will not have demonstrated the most important quality for any official, a strong moral compass.

"I understand that what many people around the country want to know about me are my views on CIA's former detention and interrogation programme", Haspel said during the Senate hearing. Among the Democrats who have come out backing Haspel is Virginia Senator Mark Warner, the top ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee.

It has been nearly three years since McCain led the charge in Congress to curtail the interrogation techniques, pushing legislation to make the Army field manual's code of conduct the government standard.

Attention now turns to the vote by the full Senate, which has yet to be scheduled. He likened that to a "stacking of the deck" and said he would continue to seek the declassification of details about her past activities at the agency.

Haspel's nomination has come under fire for her past ties to the CIA's former rendition, detention and interrogation activities, carried out in the years following the September 11 attacks, with the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding, now widely considered torture. Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, McCain's Arizona colleague, has said he's undecided. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., has said he is undecided.

The controversy surrounding Haspel's nomination has led to renewed calls for the Justice Department to publicly release the Durham report, which details a probe launched in 2008, after Haspel and her colleagues destroyed 92 video tapes that showed Central Intelligence Agency agents torturing detainees, and later expanded to assess "alleged Central Intelligence Agency mistreatment of detainees" and "whether federal laws were violated in connection with the interrogation of specific detainees at overseas locations".

Harris says Haspel's unwillingness to share more detailed information about the CIA's use of enhanced interrogation techniques is "deeply troubling". Haspel, if confirmed, would be the first woman to lead the agency. This means that there will be more than enough votes to confirm her nomination in the final vote. A vote against Haspel in 2020 will be the least of Jones's worries. Three of the four have declared their support. "He specifically mocked Democrats" concerns about waterboarding, saying it was a "minor form" of torture and that the U.S. Manchin and Warner, Haspel has, in recent days, secured the support of Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.), Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.), and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.).

The Democrats who have elected to vote for Haspel have all cited the confidence she has of the agency's rank-and-file and the broader intelligence community. The intelligence panel was given a copy of the report summary.

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