The Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday recommended Gina Haspel be confirmed as CIA director, and now the full Senate will later vote on her nomination.
In a letter to Sen.
The full Senate is expected to vote next week, and Haspel now appears to have sufficient support to win confirmation, replacing Mike Pompeo, who has become secretary of state.
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. John McCain of Arizona urged colleagues to reject the nominee over her past role in the CIA's 'enhanced interrogations'.
At her hearing before the Senate intelligence committee last Wednesday, Haspel said she would not initiate any new detention and interrogation program as CIA director. And former Vice President Dick Cheney, who was integral to the post-Sept. Ultimately Warner and West Virginia Democratic Sen.
During her confirmation hearings, she refused to condemn the program, but did make a statement indicating that the agency should not have undertaken its interrogation program in which al Qaeda detainees were tortured after the September 11 attacks of 2001.
Two other red-state senators up for re-election this year - Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Joe Donnelly of IN - have announced they will support Haspel. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Bill Nelson of Florida also announced their support for Haspel on Tuesday.
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"While her career has been impressive, Ms. Haspel's role in programs that conducted torture is very troubling; her refusal to acknowledge the immorality of such conduct even today with the benefit of hindsight is even more so and reflects poorly on our nation's reputation as a moral leader in the world". Former CIA Director John Brennan contacted her, Warner, and Sens.
Manchin is facing a tough re-election challenge this year in a deep-red state, and can't afford to be painted as soft of terrorism.
During the hearing last week, Haspel tried to assure lawmakers that she would not allow the use of the interrogation tactics that are broadly viewed as torture.
In addition to Warner, Joe Donnelly of IN said Saturday that he made his decision after "a tough, frank and extensive discussion" with Haspel.
Trump himself has said the country should consider resuming the use of harsh interrogation techniques. 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".
But four other Democrats have come out in support of Haspel, joining a majority of Republicans and all but assuring her confirmation.