CIA nominee offered to withdraw over interrogation program

07 May 2018, 07:48 | Isaac Mcdaniel

CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel

CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel

Gina Haspel, President Trump's pick to head the Central Intelligence Agency, offered on Friday to withdraw her nomination, after several White House officials told her they weren't sure she'd be able to get confirmed because of the controversy surrounding her past work at a "black site" and her destruction of tapes showing terrorism suspects being waterboarded, several people with knowledge of the matter told CNN on Sunday.

Several unidentified senior United States officials told The Washington Post that Haspel was anxious that the increasing scrutiny over her role in the agency's interrogation program would tarnish her reputation and that of the CIA, the newspaper reported on Sunday.

After Haspel attended a mock hearing for her upcoming confirmation hearing, she said she was "interested" in stepping down as nominee.

"Taken aback at her stance, senior White House aides, including legislative affairs head Marc Short and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, rushed to Langley, Virgina, to meet with Haspel at her office late Friday afternoon", the daily said.

The Washington Post first reported her offer to withdraw.

CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel is scheduled to go before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday for a hearing to become the CIA director.

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The sources told the paper that the White House is anxious that Haspel's role in interrogating terror suspects will keep her from getting the votes she needs in the Senate.

"Acting Director Haspel is a highly qualified nominee who has dedicated over three decades of service to her country", White House spokesman Raj Shah said in response to a request for White House comment.

Haspel oversaw the interrogation of a detainee at a secret USA prison in Thailand who was waterboarded 83 times in a single month. Mr. Trump also got involved, the Post reported. Jackson no longer works as Trump's personal physician but remains in the White House Medical Unit.

- With few details about Gina Haspel's undercover career, debate over President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the CIA descended into verbal spatting between those who praise her experience and others who want her disqualified because of her role in the spy agency's harsh interrogation of terror subjects after 9/11.

Haspel has obtained strong backing from former intelligence, diplomatic, navy and nationwide safety officers, who reward her in depth intelligence profession. She later penned a cable for a superior instructing staff at the site to destroy tapes showing the torture of detainees there. She was interested in avoiding the hearing in order to preserve her reputation.

On the opposing aspect are teams such because the American Civil Liberties Union, which says she ought to have stood up in opposition to the interrogation practices then.



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