Central Intelligence Agency wants Haspel to guide company to 'wonderful' future

Hugh Fox
May 9, 2018

In a letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsAdministration bears down in late push for CIA nominee CIA delivers classified materials to Congress on Haspel This week: Senate tees off net neutrality showdown MORE on Tuesday, Durbin noted what he called the CIA's "robust" lobbying efforts in support of Trump's nominee, Gina Haspel, the agency's current deputy director.

In this May 2, photo, CIA Director-nominee Gina Haspel attends the ceremonial swearing in for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department in Washington. This is a woman who has been a leader wherever she has gone.

The White House has rallied behind Haspel for the position, even though questions over her past in the CIA are likely to come up at Wednesday's confirmation hearing with the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Gina Haspel told the White House on Friday that she was interested in stepping aside from the nomination if it would damage her and the agency's reputations, according to the Washington Post.

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The official was not authorized to comment publicly and requested anonymity.

It wasn't until Saturday afternoon that officials were sure she'd stick with her nomination, the Post reported.

In a bid to boost her standing ahead of the Senate confirmation hearings, Trump sent out a tweet that celebrated rather than downplayed Haspel's role in the "enhanced interrogation" programme that included waterboarding - the simulated drowning of detainees.

Trump has labeled both Clapper and Brennan, former Obama administration officials, as liars and leakers.

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In his letter to Haspel, which was seen by Reuters, Warner said the Central Intelligence Agency had not released enough unclassified information about "all of the leadership and supervisory positions you held at Central Intelligence Agency headquarters". He said "there's a huge amount still to be learned" about Haspel's previous work, which is "a ideal test of what she might face right now". But senators on both sides of the aisle have voiced concern over her nomination to lead the agency because of her past ties to a brutal interrogation program used terror suspects following the September 11 attacks. "Any Democrat who claims to support women's empowerment and our national security but opposes her nomination is a total hypocrite". The uncertainty surrounding her fate is an unwelcome development for an administration recovering from the botched nomination of Ronny Jackson to become the secretary of Veterans Affairs, a failure that highlighted the White House's struggle to coordinate with Capitol Hill and professionalize its nominations process.

In 2014, Senate Democrats led by Feinstein issued a scathing report on the CIA's secret detention facilities and interrogation techniques, after bitter fights with the agency over what information the lawmakers could obtain and what they could release.

Using extreme interrogation techniques to pry information from detainees now is against the law, but some lawmakers worry that Trump will try to reinstate it and will get Haspel to go along.

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