Haspel says she would not follow 'immoral' orders

Gina Haspel, President TrumpDonald John TrumpLawmakers prep ahead of impeachment hearing Democrats gear up for high-stakes Judiciary hearing Warren says she made almost M from legal work over past three decades 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 WarnerHillicon Valley: FTC rules Cambridge Analytica engaged in 'deceptive practices' | NATO researchers warn social media failing to remove fake accounts | Sanders calls for breaking up Comcast, Verizon Bipartisan senators call on FERC to protect against Huawei threats Hillicon Valley: House passes anti-robocall bill | Senators inch forward on privacy legislation | Trump escalates fight over tech tax | Illinois families sue TikTok | Senators get classified briefing on ransomware 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.