Feinstein calls for release of Trump CIA pick's torture documents

Feinstein calls for release of Trump CIA pick's torture documents
© Greg Nash

Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinDems reject Barr's offer to view Mueller report with fewer redactions Five takeaways from Mueller's report Only four Dem senators have endorsed 2020 candidates MORE (D-Calif.) is urging the CIA to release documents related to Gina Haspel, President TrumpDonald John TrumpImpeachment? Not so fast without missing element of criminal intent Feds say marijuana ties could prevent immigrants from getting US citizenship Trump approval drops to 2019 low after Mueller report's release: poll MORE's nominee to lead the spy agency, and her involvement in post-9/11 torture program.

Feinstein sent a letter to CIA Director Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Pompeo rejects North Korean call for him to leave negotiations | Trump talk with rebel Libyan general raises eyebrows | New setback to Taliban talks The Hill's 12:30 Report: Dems face tricky balancing act after Mueller report Pompeo: 'I'm still in charge of' North Korea negotiation team MORE, along with Haspel, who's currently the deputy director, saying senators need a "complete picture" as they weigh the nomination.

"I write to request the declassification of pertinent agency documents related to Ms. Haspel’s role in the CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation Program," Feinstein wrote.

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Feinstein, a former chairwoman and current member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, added that in addition to lawmakers the American people "deserve to know the actual role the person nominated to be the director of the CIA played in what I consider to be one of the darkest chapters in American history.”

Trump announced on Tuesday that he was nominating Haspel to succeed Pompeo, who has been nominated to lead the State Department. If confirmed, she'll be the first female director of the CIA.

But her nomination is already running into roadblocks on Capitol Hill.

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulBooker, Harris have missed most Senate votes Trump vetoes measure ending US support for Saudi-led war in Yemen Bottom line MORE (R-Ky.) said on Wednesday that he would oppose her. His defection leaves Republicans with the bare 50 votes needed to let Vice President Pence break a tie, assuming no other GOP senators oppose her and Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainTrump gives nod to vulnerable GOP Sen. McSally with bill signing Democrats need a 'celebrity' candidate — and it's not Biden or Sanders Juan Williams: The high price of working for Trump MORE (R-Ariz.), who is undergoing treatment for brain cancer, returns to vote and supports her.

Democratic Sens. Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenOn The Money: Inside the Mueller report | Cain undeterred in push for Fed seat | Analysis finds modest boost to economy from new NAFTA | White House says deal will give auto sector B boost Government report says new NAFTA would have minimal impact on economy Hillicon Valley: Washington preps for Mueller report | Barr to hold Thursday presser | Lawmakers dive into AI ethics | FCC chair moves to block China Mobile | Dem bill targets 'digital divide' | Microsoft denies request for facial recognition tech MORE (Ore.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenResurfaced Buttigieg yearbook named him 'most likely to be president' The STATES Act will expose flawed marijuana legacy Impeachment? Not so fast without missing element of criminal intent MORE (Mass.) have already come out in opposition to Haspel's nomination.

Haspel oversaw the use of interrogation methods now widely seen as torture under President George W. Bush and briefly ran one of the CIA's first "black site" prisons.

Feinstein added that senators had to weigh Haspel's record, "including troubling press reports on her involvement with torture programs," but needed more than just media reports.

"While public reporting is useful, it is no substitute for the actual truth held in CIA cables, emails and internal memos," she wrote.

Feinstein has been one of the Senate’s harshest critics of “enhanced interrogation techniques” and the architect of the so-called torture report.

She has stressed this week that she has not made a decision on Haspel but sounded open to her nomination.

“We’ve had dinner together. We have talked. Everything I know is she has been a good deputy director,” Feinstein said on Tuesday.

She added on Wednesday that "I need to have another long talk with Gina Haspel, and I will do that. I do not announce my position before the committee hearing."

Feinstein in 2013 blocked Haspel’s promotion to run clandestine operations at the agency over her role in interrogations at a CIA “black site” prison and the destruction of videotapes documenting the waterboarding of an al Qaeda suspect there.

Feinstein, who is up for reelection in 2018, has faced backlash this week for her Tuesday comments, with progressive groups and her primary challenger urging her to take a tough stance on the new CIA nominee.

"It is very concerning Senator Feinstein is ‘open to supporting’ CIA nominee Haspel, who ran a ‘black site’ prison that waterboarded and beat prisoners. Believes she has been a ‘good’ deputy CIA Director,"  her rival, Kevin de León, said on Twitter.