U.S. senators asked to block Trump's Central Intelligence Agency director pick

Arturo Kim
May 14, 2018

Sen. Rand Paul is criticizing Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump's pick to head the CIA, for not declassifying her role in the agency's "extreme rendition and torture-by-proxy", arguing that the lack of candor disqualified her from the role.

Others disagree two senators both from states that voted Trump, have backed Haspel's nomination.

The same night, President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Penceappeared together IN at a rally IN support of Donnelly's Republican challenger Mike Braun.

The Hoosier senior senator becomes the second Democrat to publicly announce their backing for the controversial nominee.

Senator Joe Donnelly from IN announced on Saturday that he would would to confirm Haspel to the role, following a meeting with her on Thursday to discuss her nomination that included the use of techniques like waterboarding during interrogation of terror suspects at a base she oversaw IN the early 2000s.

Appearing Thursday morning on the Fox Business Channel, former Vice President Dick Cheney endorsed both Haspel and the techniques he refuses to call torture. In her testimony, Haspel defended the use of torture under her watch, saying the decision was necessary in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 attacks.

Haspel, currently the CIA's deputy director, would replace Mike Pompeo, who is now Secretary of State. Haspel spoke in Russian at one point, underscoring her long experience running clandestine operations against Russia, these people said.

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Her nomination is contentious because she was chief of a covert detention site in Thailand where terror suspects were waterboarded. But Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia will vote for confirmation, and a couple of other Democrats also facing tough re-election bids may do the same.

Democrats on the Intelligence Committee complained that the CIA is "covering up" Haspel's record by refusing to release information.

With Donnelly's support, Senate Republicans, who hold a slim 51-49 majority, have a chance to reach the necessary votes in a floor vote.

'You also, in this hearing, have a responsibility to answer the questions being asked of you, ' Harris said to Haspel.

Trump, who was joined at the rally by Vice President Mike Pence, a former IN governor, urged GOP voters to mobilize and prevent Democrats from regaining control of Congress.

Last month, the Central Intelligence Agency released a memo from 2011 showing that Deputy Director Michael Morell cleared Haspel of any wrongdoing in the destruction in 2005 of videotapes that showed prisoner Abu Zubaydah and another detainee being tortured.

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