Haspel says she would not follow 'immoral' orders

Gina Haspel, President TrumpDonald John TrumpPelosi eyes end of April to bring a fourth coronavirus relief bill to the floor NBA to contribute 1 million surgical masks to NY essential workers Private equity firm with ties to Kushner asks Trump administration to relax rules on loan program: report MORE's pick to lead the CIA, said on Wednesday that she would not reimplement a brutal detention and interrogation program even if ordered to do so by President Trump, declaring such activities to be "immoral."

In an at times testy exchange with Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerDemocrats seize on Trump's firing of intelligence community watchdog Trump fires intelligence community watchdog who flagged Ukraine whistleblower complaint Hillicon Valley: Thousands of Zoom recordings exposed online | Google shares location data to counter virus | Dem senator pushes jobless benefits for gig workers | Twitter takes down 20,000 fake accounts MORE (Va.), the Senate Intelligence Committee's top Democrat, Haspel said the CIA was bound to uphold U.S. law and "American values," and that the country had determined that such interrogation practices run counter to those values.

Asked by Warner if she would follow a hypothetical order from Trump to use harsh interrogation and detention practices, Haspel flatly said, "No."

She said she would "not put CIA officers at risk" by reimplementing the controversial program again.

"I support the higher moral standard that this country has decided to hold itself to. I would never, ever take CIA back to an interrogation program," she said. 

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"I support the law, I wouldn’t support a change in the law. But I’ll tell you this, I would not put CIA officers at risk by asking them to undertake risky, controversial activity again."

"I believe that CIA must undertake activities that are consistent with American values," she said.

Haspel has come under fire from some lawmakers — mostly Democrats — for her ties to the CIA's controversial detention and interrogation program used in the years after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

She oversaw a CIA black site facility in Thailand in 2002, where a suspected al Qaeda operative was waterboarded.

Earlier in her testimony before the intelligence committee, Haspel vowed never to reimplement the interrogation program if confirmed as CIA director.