Heitkamp to support Haspel for top Central Intelligence Agency job

  • Heitkamp to support Haspel for top Central Intelligence Agency job

Heitkamp to support Haspel for top Central Intelligence Agency job

President Donald Trump's Central Intelligence Agency nominee appeared to be on a path toward confirmation as she picked up support from key Democrats Tuesday and toughened her public stance against harsh interrogation. Haspel now has more than enough support to win confirmation, as Warner was one of three Democrats to announce Tuesday that they were voting for her, bringing the total to five.

Of the 100 U.S. Senators, 51 are Republicans and 49 are Democrats; while two Republicans said they would not vote for Haspel, five Democrats have indicated they would support her nomination.

"After spending several weeks carefully evaluating all of the information available to me about Ms. Haspel and her career, reviewing her confirmation hearing, speaking with current and former public officials, and meeting with her in person yesterday, I have come to the conclusion that I cannot support her confirmation as the Director of the CIA", Jones said in a statement that might appease some of those in his base - three weeks before a primary election - who have been disgruntled with his vote for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other actions that seemed be less than critical of the Trump administration than he could have been.

"With the benefit of hindsight and my experience as a senior agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one the CIA should have undertaken", according to Haspel's written answers to some 60 additional questions from lawmakers.

Tortured himself while a prisoner of war in Vietnam, McCain cited Haspel's role in the interrogation program, saying the country should only use methods to keep itself safe that are "as right and just as the values we aspire to live up to and promote in the world". They include Mark Warner of Virginia, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelley of Indiana, Bill Nelson of Florida and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.

But during her confirmation hearing last week, she said she doesn't believe torture works as an interrogation technique and that her "strong moral compass" would prevent her from carrying out any presidential order she found objectionable. "Most importantly, I believe she is someone who can and will stand up to the president if ordered to do something illegal or immoral - like a return to torture", Warner said.

Bolstering the comments she made during her hearing, Haspel wrote, "I do not support use of enhanced interrogation techniques for any goal".

Haspel, 61, is the acting CIA director, and she has yet to be confirmed by Congress after facing backlash from politicians over her intelligence career.

But for Warner, and for the Democrats who followed his lead to also announce their support for Haspel on Tuesday, it was enough. The only Senate Republicans who are not expected to vote for her are Kentucky's Rand Paul and Arizona's John McCain, who is battling cancer and is not expected to be present for the ballot. Brennan is an outspoken critic of Trump but called Haspel "highly qualified" and urged senators to view her with an open mind.

Much of the concern over Haspel's nomination has centered around campaign statements made by President Donald Trump, who expressed an eagerness to reinstate certain outlawed practices, including waterboarding.

A letter from more than 100 former USA ambassadors said Haspel's confirmation would undermine diplomatic efforts to discourage torture by tyrants in other countries.