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CIA delivers classified materials to Congress on Haspel

The CIA has given Congress a tranche of classified documents related to the controversial undercover background of Gina Haspel, President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Georgia secretary of state withholds support for 'reactionary' GOP voting bills MORE's choice to lead the spy agency.

The delivery — a single cardboard box marked "hand carry" that was wheeled in on a dolly to a secure facility in the Capitol basement — comes as the agency is under fierce pressure from Democrats to declassify more information about Haspel's involvement in its now-defunct detention and interrogation program.

"As Acting Director Haspel promised, CIA delivered a set of classified documents to the Senate today so that every Senator can review Acting Director Haspel's actual, and outstanding record," a CIA spokesperson said in a statement  
 
"These documents cover the entirety of her career, including her time in CIA’s Counter Terrorism Center in the years after 9/11. We encourage every Senator to take the time to read the entire set of documents."
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It's unclear how much detail the CIA has provided lawmakers in advance of her Wednesday hearing, which is expected to be contentious. A second box, similarly marked, was also delivered to the Senate Intelligence Committee's secure spaces.  

Because so much of Haspel’s record is still classified — 32 of her 33 years at the agency were spent undercover — much of the fight in Congress has revolved around what information, if any, the CIA will make public about her past.

As the current acting director, Haspel herself is the declassification authority over her own record. On Friday, she reportedly offered to withdraw her nomination if it would avoid a bruising fight for the agency over its use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, which are now widely considered torture, in the years following the Sept. 11 attacks. 

Four Democratic senators — Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinProgressive support builds for expanding lower courts Menendez reintroduces corporate diversity bill What exactly are uber-woke educators teaching our kids? MORE (Calif.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenBiden's picks face peril in 50-50 Senate Yellen deputy Adeyemo on track for quick confirmation Hillicon Valley: Google lifting ban on political ads | DHS taking steps on cybersecurity | Controversy over TV 'misinformation rumor mills' MORE (Ore.), Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisEmhoff reflects on interracial marriage case: Without this 'I would not be married to Kamala Harris' WHO: Coronavirus deaths down 20 percent worldwide last week Collins: Biden's .9T coronavirus package won't get any Senate GOP votes MORE (Calif.) and Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichUSPS adding up to 165K fuel efficient or electric delivery vehicles Democrats propose executive actions on electric vehicle acquisitions New rule shakes up Senate Armed Services subcommittees MORE (N.M.) — are now demanding that the director of national intelligence, Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsHow President Biden can hit a home run Former Trump intel chief Coats introduces Biden nominee Haines at hearing Senate Intelligence Committee leaders warn of Chinese threats to national security MORE, intervene to declassify the information.

"Given that Ms. Haspel, as the current Acting Director of the CIA, is in the conflicted position of serving as the classification authority over potentially derogatory information related to her own nomination, we can think of no more appropriate situation for you to serve as the relevant authority," the lawmakers wrote in a Friday letter. 

Democrats have complained that the CIA is selectively declassifying only positive information about Haspel and suggested that continuing to keep her record under wraps violates an Obama-era executive order prohibiting the use of classification to “conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error” or “prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency.”

As members of the intelligence panel, the four senators have access to classified information that the rest of their colleagues do not, and Wyden has hinted repeatedly that there is much about Haspel’s background that remains unknown.

Former intelligence officials — including critics of the Trump administration — have praised her as a professional, experienced officer.