National Security

Haspel confirmation vote set for Wednesday

Greg Nash

The Senate Intelligence Committee will vote Wednesday on Gina Haspel’s nomination to lead the CIA, a committee aide said Monday.

The vote will take place in closed session prior to a scheduled classified hearing on the intelligence community’s 2017 assessment that Russia attempted to interfere in the U.S. election.

Haspel appears poised to pass out of committee with a favorable recommendation, teeing up a full Senate vote likely next week.

Although some of the panel’s Democrats have announced their opposition, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) is supporting her.

One big question mark, however, remains the committee’s top Democrat, Sen. Mark Warner (Va.), who has remained conspicuously close-lipped on his position on the controversial nominee.

A handful of Senate Republicans have announced their opposition to Haspel — including Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) and the long-absent Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) — but neither will threaten her chances in committee. McCain is in Arizona receiving treatment for an aggressive form of brain cancer and Paul does not sit on the intel panel.

Another Democrat, Sen. Joe Donnelly (Ind.), announced his support for Haspel over the weekend. Both Manchin and Donnelly are up for reelection in 2018 and represent states won by President Trump in 2016.

Haspel, currently deputy director of the agency, has drawn fierce opposition from some Democrats related her role in the CIA’s detention and interrogation program in the years following the Sept. 11 attacks.

The program used techniques now widely considered torture.

Haspel’s specific role in the program remains classified.

She testified in her confirmation hearing that the program would not be restarted under her leadership, but frustrated Democrats with her answer on whether she thought the program was “immoral.”

“I believe that CIA did extraordinary work to prevent another attack on this country given the legal tools that we were authorized to use,” Haspel said. “What I believe sitting here today is that I support the higher moral standard we have decided to hold ourselves to.”

Tags Donald Trump Joe Donnelly Joe Manchin John McCain Mark Warner Rand Paul
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