Central Intelligence Agency nominee has ties to Kentucky
13 May, 2018, 09:38 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
Joe Donnelly of IN on Saturday became the second Democratic senator to back Donald Trump's pick to run the CIA, Gina Haspel, whose nomination is IN question over her role IN a rendition and torture programme run by the agency after 9/11. You could hear Haspel winding up the pitch for the long, meandering non-answer (an infuriating tradition among candidates for jobs at their confirmation hearings) when Harris (D-Calif.) cut her off with a blunt, "I'd like a yes or no answer".
Haspel, currently the CIA's deputy director, would replace Mike Pompeo, who is now Secretary of State.
West Virginia's Sen. Joe Manchin, a Democrat in a state that voted for Mr. Trump by the greatest margin, has also voiced his support for Haspel.
Donnelly voiced his support for Haspel on Twitter Saturday morning, saying he believes Haspel learned from the past and has the experience needed as the US faces "dynamic and challenging security threats".
Donnelly, whose state voted for Donald Trump for president in 2016, is up for re-election this year.
Brutal interrogation practices are now banned under US law, but debate on the issue has re-surfaced during Haspel's confirmation process because she was once involved in the CIA's interrogation program. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and John McCain, R-Ariz., who is battling cancer and is not expected to be present for the vote.
Donnelly, who met with Haspel on Thursday, said in a statement that he had "a tough, frank, and extensive discussion" with her, both about her vision for the agency and about its past use of "enhanced" interrogations against terrorist captives, including methods such as waterboarding that are widely considered torture. "I've always shared McCain's views on torture and looked up to him on this, " he told reporters this week.
Democrats have expressed concern about Haspel's involvement in the post 9/11-era interrogation and detention programs.
While the GOP's narrow hold on the Senate, 51-49, has been further slimmed with McCain's absence, Haspel appeared to be gaining support.
"I believe Gina Haspel is a patriot who loves our country and has devoted her professional life to its service and defense".
Others include Sens. Angus King from Maine, Doug Jones from Alabama, Heidi Heitkamp from North Dakota, Bill Nelson from Florida and Claire McCaskill from Missouri. Critics have pointed to her role overseeing a Central Intelligence Agency secret prison in Thailand in late 2002.
"For those reasons, and after careful consideration, I will support Ms. Haspel's nomination to lead the agency to which she has dedicated her career", he added.
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