Trump CIA nominee offered to withdraw

by Garry Watts May 7, 2018, 7:46
Trump CIA nominee offered to withdraw

President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the CIA, Gina Haspel, sought to withdraw over concerns about her role in the agency's interrogation program, The Washington Post reported on Sunday, citing four unidentified senior U.S. officials.

Haspel is slated to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week where she is likely to face increasing questions over her role in the CIA's enhanced interrogation program in the mid-2000s.

After Haspel attended a mock hearing for her upcoming confirmation hearing, she said she was "interested" in stepping down as nominee.

The Washington Times noted that once the White House heard of Haspel's uncertainty, White House aides, including Marc Short and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, went to Virginia to meet with her.

But by Saturday, according to the Post's sources, Haspel agreed to stick with the nomination.

Haspel has come under criticism over her involvement in the CIA's used of "enhanced interrogation techniques" - which included waterboarding.

Meanwhile, the pieces of information that are known about Haspel are disturbing to those who oppose torture.

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Senor White House aides then reportedly rushed to meet Haspel at Central Intelligence Agency headquarters for several hours before securing her intention to continue in the process on Saturday.

She oversaw a secret facility in Thailand where at least two al-Qaeda suspects were subjected to simulated drowning, one of them while she was facility chief.

Haspel's offer to withdraw on Friday was prompted by growing concern among her supporters that White House staff were becoming nervous that the nomination was in trouble, the sources said. After initially signaling he would support whatever decision was taken, Trump chose to push for Haspel to remain the nominee, according to the newspaper. Jackson no longer works as Trump's personal physician but remains in the White House Medical Unit.

Opposition to Ms. Haspel centers around her 33-year career with the agency, much of it undercover.

Anders, deputy director of the ACLU's legislative office in Washington, said that while the administration has shared tidbits about how Haspel likes country singer Johnny Cash and once met the Roman Catholic nun and missionary Mother Teresa, it has only declassified one document about her career.

Haspel has obtained strong backing from former intelligence, diplomatic, navy and nationwide safety officers, who reward her in depth intelligence profession. She later penned a cable for a superior instructing staff at the site to destroy tapes showing the torture of detainees there. Those who know the true Gina Haspel - who worked with her, who served with her, who helped her confront terrorism, Russian Federation and countless other threats to our nation - they nearly uniformly support her.

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