President Trump’s nominee for CIA director, Gina Haspel, appears to have won enough backing to be confirmed by the full Senate, after Haspel came out saying the CIA should never have undertaken its post-9/11 torture program. The Senate Intelligence Committee voted today to recommend her confirmation to the full Senate. Among the Democrats who have come out backing Haspel is Virginia Senator Mark Warner, the top ranking Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee. At her confirmation hearing last week, Haspel repeatedly refused to call the CIA’s post-9/11 treatment of prisoners “torture,” and declined to state whether she believes torture is immoral.
But in a letter to Virginia Senator Mark Warner, she admitted that the CIA torture program never should have existed in the first place, writing, “While I won’t condemn those that made these hard calls, and I have noted the valuable intelligence collected, the program ultimately did damage to our officers and our standing in the world. With the benefit of hindsight and my experience as a senior agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one the C.I.A. should have undertaken.” Haspel is a 33-year CIA veteran who was responsible for running a secret CIA black site in Thailand in 2002 where at least one prisoner was waterboarded and tortured in other ways during her tenure. She also oversaw the destruction of videotapes showing torture at the black site. We’ll have more on Gina Haspel later in the broadcast.