CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel departs her confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., May 9, 2018. Republican Senate leaders want to hold the vote this week, but it could get pushed to next week.
The interrogation program became one of the darkest chapters of the CIA's history and tainted America's image worldwide after the September 11 attacks.
Haspel's nomination has sparked renewed debate over brutal interrogation practices the Central Intelligence Agency used on terror suspects after 9/11. 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. Rand Paul, R-Ky., saidhe would not vote for her.
It will make Haspel, a 61-year-old Russian Federation specialist, the first-ever woman to lead the CIA, and the first director who spent their entire career in the agency's clandestine services. "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.
Haspel's appointment would be controversial and hearings with the Senate committee have been met with protests by anti-torture activists. I wanted reassurance from her that she has a moral compass and will stand up to the President and not enable his worst impulses, including getting back in the business of enhanced interrogation.
Haspel has not disclosed any details of what she did in connection with the program or say whether she thought it had been immoral.
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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.
Attention now turns to the vote by the full Senate, which has yet to be scheduled.
In announcing her support, Heitkamp said it was not an easy decision.
Haspel had already picked up Democratic support and appears on a path to confirmation. Beavers has said she will also compose tweets to call out Republican senators, because "torture is not a partisan issue".
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