Democrats may get Central Intelligence Agency nominee Haspel over line

Frederick Owens
May 17, 2018

The remaining five Democrats had said they would not back her nomination. John McCain, who released a statement asking senators to vote against Haspel but is unable to vote himself because he's in his home state battling cancer. "My questions about Ms. Haspel's role in the destruction of videotapes relevant to discussions occurring in Congress regarding the program have not been adequately answered".

The full Senate will now need to vote on her nomination, but Mr. Warner's support signals she's likely to be approved. "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. "She has acted morally, ethically, and legally, over a distinguished 30-year career and is the right person to lead the Agency into an uncertain and challenging future". She needs a majority to be confirmed in the Senate, which Republicans control 51-49.

The committee's chairman gave her a positive public endorsement after the vote.

Haspel had already picked up Democratic support and appears on a path to confirmation.

"The one-two-three punch of Democratic buy-in effectively ensures Haspel's confirmation as soon as Thursday despite a handful of still-undecided senators in both parties - not to mention a vocal push to defeat her by liberal and civil rights activists", writes Politico.

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The controversy surrounding Haspel's nomination has led to renewed calls for the Justice Department to publicly release the Durham report, which details a probe launched in 2008, after Haspel and her colleagues destroyed 92 video tapes that showed Central Intelligence Agency agents torturing detainees, and later expanded to assess "alleged Central Intelligence Agency mistreatment of detainees" and "whether federal laws were violated in connection with the interrogation of specific detainees at overseas locations".

At the request of Congress, the CIA has declassified documents shedding light on Haspel's career in covert operations, particularly in her reported role at the agency's "black site" in Thailand.

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 an entire career in the agency's clandestine services. "Allowing her to now run the CIA will only invite even more distrust and suspicion of what is going on behind the scenes at the agency". They include Mark Warner of Virginia, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelley of Indiana, Bill Nelson of Florida and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.

Bolstering the comments she made during her hearing, Haspel wrote, "I do not support use of enhanced interrogation techniques for any goal".

Thought experiment (in full compliance with the Geneva Conventions): Imagine if Haspel had male genitalia or even chose to identify as a man, which liberals would support because they believe anyone can be whatever gender they want.

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