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Haspel, Trump's pick to lead Central Intelligence Agency, pledges she won't restart interrogation program

10 May 2018, 01:25 | Conrad Doyle

Watch: CIA nominee Gina Haspel faces senators' questions

CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel waves as she arrives for her meeting

"Having served in that tumultuous time", she said, "I can offer you my personal commitment, clearly and without reservation, that under my leadership, C.I.A. will not restart such a detention and interrogation program". Since Republican Senator Rand Paul said he plans to vote against Haspel, she needed to pick up at least on Democratic vote.

"CIA has learned some tough lessons, especially when asked to tackle missions that fall outside our expertise", acting CIA director Gina Haspel told the Senate intelligence committee.

And she would never carry out a presidential order she considered immoral, she said.

He said suspected 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed personally beheaded Pearl and published the video.

Haspel said that being in the public spotlight is new for her because she spent more than 30 years "in the shadows" working undercover and acquiring secret information from dead drops and meetings in dusty back alleys of third-world capitals.

"Unbelievable, despicable and disgusting", Hannity said in characterizing the entire ordeal.

"Today China is undertaking a comprehensive effort to supplant the United States and to undermine us".

In addition to overseeing torture, Haspel is deeply implicated in its cover-up, playing a key role in the decision to secretly shred 92 videotapes of the abuse meted out to detainees at the Thailand black site.

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinBlankenship concedes GOP Senate primary in W. Va.

Haspel's interview with the committee went smoothly enough to earn her a few key endorsements: Sen. The tweet also contained a link to an editorial from a right-leaning publication entitled, "the Conservative Case Against Gina Haspel".

US President Donald Trump's nomination of Haspel for the role has been criticized by both Republican and Democratic senators. If confirmed, Haspel would become the first woman to lead the agency in its history - a fact that GOP members of the intelligence panel mentioned frequently.

Hers was a barely modified version of the defense made infamous by the Nazis at Nuremberg: She was only following orders and was told by superiors that her actions-in flagrant violation of the Geneva Conventions, the Eighth Amendment to the US Constitution and US statues forbidding torture-were perfectly legal. She was responding to a question from Senator John Cornyn.

"It is not my way to trumpet the fact I am a woman for the top job in the Central Intelligence Agency, but I would be remiss in not remarking on it, not least because of the outpouring of support from young women in the Central Intelligence Agency and across the [intelligence community], because they consider it a good sign for their own prospects", Haspel said in a moment that was remarkable for its candor. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Ted Cruz, R-Texas, whose support was uncertain, said they also intend to vote for her.

Although McCain is unlikely to cast a floor vote on Haspel, as he is out of Washington receiving treatment for a rare and serious form of brain cancer, his opinion carries particular symbolic weight, as a war hero who was tortured in Vietnam.

Haspel didn't talk about ultimatums or engage in hypotheticals about storming out of the Oval Office or offering her resignation.

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