Trump defends CIA nominee Haspel against Dem criticism

CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel

"My highly respected nominee for CIA Director, Gina Haspel, has come under fire because she was too tough on Terrorists", Trump tweeted, referring to criticisms of Haspel's tenure overseeing a black site CIA prison in Thailand after 9/11, where detainees were subjected to brutal torture, including sleep deprivation and waterboarding. Diane Feinstein, a California Democrat who was chairwoman of the committee at the time, expressed initial concern about Ms. Haspel's nomination, and she told the Washington Post that the more material she has reviewed, the more troubled she has become. Sen. This is when she offered to withdraw, officials said.

Haspel faces a Senate confirmation hearing Wednesday.

Warner on Monday wrote a letter to Haspel, obtained by CNN, saying that the Central Intelligence Agency has failed to make enough of Haspel's record public - and he urged Haspel, now acting Central Intelligence Agency director, to intervene herself to declassify additional materials.

"Any Democrat who claims to support women's empowerment and our national security but opposes her nomination is a total hypocrite", Sanders said.

Haspel feared becoming "the next Ronny Jackson", the White House physician who withdrew his nomination as Veterans Affairs secretary amid questions about alleged misconduct on the job, one official told the Post.

Trump's apparent defense of torture came shortly after his favorite morning show Fox & Friends covered Haspel's struggles in her nomination process.

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Haspel, who serves as the CIA's deputy director and has spent 33 years in the agency, most of it undercover, faces some opposition in Congress because of her connection to the interrogation program that was set up after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

Another part of the Haspel-for-CIA strategy unveiled by the administration is to declassify certain documents that shed more light on her work overseas. People who understand the authentic Gina Haspel - who worked with her, functioned with her, who helped her confront terrorism, Russian Federation and several different threats to the nation - they almost certainly support.

These are very unsafe times, so choices are restricted.

Two sources said Haspel participated in a practice session Friday - called a "murder board" - to prepare for the hearing, a sign the nomination was moving forward. I've worked under directors whom the president didn't trust, and even some who weren't welcome at the White House. "This program was parachuted onto the CIA's Directorate of Operations, made all the more ambiguous because it occurred in the panic of the opening days of the 'war on terror'".

Trump had chose to push her to stay the nominee, according to the paper.

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