Veteran Advocacy Group Seeks Support For McCain in Rejection of Haspel

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The Senate Intelligence Committee is poised to advance Gina Haspel's nomination Wednesday to be the CIA's first female director, setting up a close confirmation vote in the full Senate amid questions about her role in the agency's now-outlawed torture program.

Haspel testified at a Senate hearing that torture does not work as an interrogation technique and that as director her strong "moral compass" would ensure she did not carry out any administrative directive she found objectionable.

The letter comes as Warner has yet to announce whether he will back Haspel. "With the benefit of hindsight and my experience as a senior agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one the CIA should have undertaken". Most importantly, I believe she is someone who can and will stand up to the President if ordered to do something illegal or immoral - like a return to torture.

Republicans hold a slim 51-49 majority in the Senate, with Vice President Pence able to break any tie vote.

A committee vote on Haspel is scheduled for Wednesday morning. According to Haspel, she categorically against the resumption of this program.

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The paper referenced Ms. Haspel's most controversial work - overseeing a Central Intelligence Agency secret prison in Thailand in 2002 where harsh interrogations, including waterboarding, were conducted and videotaped. Haspel said she drafted an order to destroy the tapes at the direction of her boss, Jose Rodriguez, who was head of the CIA's clandestine service at the time. Rodriguez has said publicly that Haspel knew he meant to take the matter into his own hands and issue the order, because he believed he had the authority to do so.

"We got valuable information from debriefing Al-Qaeda detainees", Haspel told senators last week.

As for Mr. Paul, he has expressed deep reservations about Ms. Haspel since earlier this spring when Mr. Trump nominated her to replace Mike Pompeo, who became secretary of state. "There's no one in the Senate who has even remotely the credibility he does on an issue of this kind".

McCain's move, in turn, prompted an embarrassment for the Trump administration when a White House aide at a private meeting jokingly dismissed the senator's opposition because "he's dying anyway".