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WaPo: Fearing Torture Questions, Haspel Briefly Backed Away From CIA Nomination
May 25 2018, 03:02 | Irvin Gilbert
Gina Haspel, nominee to head CIA, sought to withdraw over questions about her role in agency interrogation program
Unwilling to further discredit the CIA's already quite controversial "enhanced interrogation" techniques used on suspected terrorists, 61-year-old Haspel reportedly asked, at a White House meeting on Friday, to have her nomination as the next Central Intelligence Agency director withdrawn, both the Washington Post and Reuters reported, citing sources.
As officials raised concerns about material that illustrated Haspel's involvement in the program, Haspel indicated she'd be willing to step aside rather than continue with the confirmation process, the Post reported.
Only on Saturday afternoon was the White House assured she would not withdraw, the Post quoted the officials as saying.
Haspel's vow to fight any attempt to resurrect the programme puts her in the same camp as Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, who has advised President Donald Trump that he doesn't think torture is an effective interrogation tactic. Her confirmation hearing is scheduled for Wednesday. Since the Republicans only have a 51-49 hold on the Senate, her confirmation could go down to the wire.
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. Ever since President Trump announced Haspel as his nominee, critics have pointed out her connections to an interrogation program.
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Several unidentified senior USA officials told The Washington Post that Haspel was anxious that the increasing scrutiny over her role in the agency's interrogation program would tarnish her reputation and that of the CIA, the newspaper reported on Sunday. The legislative director referenced Jackson's brief reckoning with an array of allegations that he had a drinking problem, overprescribed medicine and fostered a hostile work environment within the White House medical unit.
On the opposing side are groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, which says she should have stood up against the interrogation practices then. Haspel drafted a cable approving the destruction that her boss ultimately sent to field officers, who fed the tapes into a shredding machine.
On Friday she was at the White House to explain her position on torture. Jackson, Trump's White House doctor, withdrew his nomination to become Veterans Affairs secretary following questions regarding alleged misconduct earlier in his career.
As with different nominations, this one hit a roadblock however is again on monitor, stated a 3rd administration official aware of the trouble to get her confirmed. "Any Democrat who claims to support women's empowerment and our national security but opposes her nomination is a total hypocrite".