Key Democrats Back CIA Director Nominee Gina Haspel

Key Democrats Back CIA Director Nominee Gina Haspel

McCain, who has been away from Washington all year as he battles brain cancer, urged his fellow senators last week not to vote for Haspel.

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.

Haspel played an integral role in the CIA's illegal torture program.

For 33 years with the agency, Ms. Haspel has been on the front lines of America's greatest security challenges, rising from station chief, to deputy director of the clandestine service, to deputy director of the agency. In the committee vote, Ranking Democratic member Mark Warner and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin joined the committee's eight Democrats to support Haspel's nomination, with the remaining five Democrats voting against her.

Mark Warner, offered a surprising thumbs-up on Tuesday after Haspel, the spy agency's acting director, put in writing her belief that the CIA should never have engaged in "enhanced interrogation" techniques - now widely regarded as forms of torture. "I believe that she will be a strong advocate for the agency's workforce, and an independent voice who can and will stand up on behalf of our nation's intelligence community", Warner said after the vote Wednesday.

Sen. Doug Jones (Ala.), a red-state Democrat who faces election in 2020, announced that he would oppose her. Her specific role in the program remains classified.

Committee chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, quietly nudged Democrats to support her.

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Although Haspel's confirmation now seems imminent-with a full Senate vote expected as early as this week-human rights advocates continue to raise alarm about what is known of her torture record and strongly condemn the Democrats who are expected make her ascension to the top of the Central Intelligence Agency possible.

The Senate intelligence committee is expected to vote in closed session. She testified that they were destroyed on the order of her supervisor at the time, Jose Rodriguez, and that she was not on the tapes. Joe Donnelly of IN and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota came out IN support of her late Tuesday afternoon.

"Ms. Haspel's involvement in torture is deeply troubling, as my friend and colleague, John McCain, so eloquently reminded us", Heitkamp said.

Confirmation by the full Senate appeared likely as four Democrats - Mark Warner of Virginia, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelley of IN and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota - announced their support.

Asked if she would stand up to Mr. Trump if he ordered her to resume an "enhanced" interrogation program, she first said, "I do not believe the president would ask me to do that", then added, "I would not restart under any circumstances an interrogation program at C.I.A".

"Senate Intellingence voted to reward a dark, criminal chapter of our country's history when it shouldn't have agreed to a vote until Haspel's full torture record was made public", the ACLU tweeted.

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