Robert Donachie, DCNF
A handful of senators on the Senate Intelligence Committee voted against President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the CIA Wednesday.
The committee voted 10-5 Wednesday in favor of Gina Haspel, who must now be confirmed before the entire Senate body before she can become the next CIA director.
Every Republican member of the committee voted in favor, including two Democrats — Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Four Democrats and one independent voted against Haspel, including:
- Dianne Feinstein of California
- Ron Wyden of Oregon
- Kamala Harris of California
- Martin Heinrich of New Mexico
- Angus King of Maine, who is an independent
Feinstein’s vote was not unexpected, although she said she was open to hearing Haspel out when her nomination was first brought up.
The Senate Intelligence Committee, under the leadership of Feinstein, investigated the CIA’s interrogation and detainment program for terrorists in 2014. Senators found that terrorist suspects were sleep-deprived for up to a full week and threatened with their lives while in custody.
The report also detailed how the CIA’s medical staff approved of the techniques, like “rectal feeding” or “rectal hydration,” which a CIA official said was a way to have “total control over the detainee.”
Haspel told the Senate Intelligence Committee on May 9 that if she was given the order again, she would not support it.
Harris said she would vote against Haspel because she did not feel it would be the best pick for the agency, given her past. Harris said Haspel running the CIA would not be the best “signal to the workforce of that agency, to the American people or to our neighbors around the globe.”
In my view Gina Haspel’s failure to take personal responsibility for any role she might have played in the CIA’s detention & interrogation program & her conflicting replies to questions about the destruction of videotapes related to the program make her unsuitable to lead the CIA
— Martin Heinrich (@MartinHeinrich) May 16, 2018
If she passes confirmation, Haspel would become the first female director in the agency’s history of over 70 years.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hinted Tuesday that Haspel’s confirmation vote could come relatively soon.
“Gina Haspel is the right woman at the right time. Her nomination has support from national security leaders and senators in both parties,” McConnell said in a statement Wednesday morning. “There is no reason why her confirmation should be delayed — and I look forward to advancing it expeditiously following the committee’s action.”
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