Second US Democrat to support Haspel as new Central Intelligence Agency chief

Posted May 13, 2018

Sen. Donnelly joins Democratic Sen.

Joe Donnelly of IN on Saturday became the second Democratic senator to back Donald Trump's pick to run the CIA, Gina Haspel, whose nomination is IN question over her role IN a rendition and torture programme run by the agency after 9/11.

During her confirmation hearing, Haspel pledged to abide by the current law that forbids those methods and that she would reject an order from Trump to use those techniques against a terrorist now.

Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) are the only Republicans who have publicly said they will not support Haspel, while Sen. She pushed back on charges that the programme was immoral, insisting that her own "moral compass is strong", and fought to describe what she said were the CIA's successes in capturing most-wanted men.

Other democrats are also undecided, but Donnelly's support seems likely to shift the numbers in Haspel's favor despite the opposition she has received.

In recent days, senators coming out against Haspel include independent Angus King of ME, and Democrats Dianne Feinstein and Kamala Harris, both from California, Elizabeth Warren of MA, and Tim Kaine of Virginia.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who also hails from Kentucky and graduated from the University of Louisville, had high praise for Haspel and said he plans to vote to confirm her.

While anti-war groups, civil libertarians, and many journalists were appalled by Haspel's "horrid" hearing performance-the current acting director of the Central Intelligence Agency insisted that she is just a "typical middle-class American" with a strong "moral compass" despite her role in the Bush administration's torture program-Donnelly vaguely said in his statement that he believes Haspel "has learned from the past". Haspel had previously been serving as deputy director.

That assessment prompted a White House aide to joke that McCain, who was diagnosed with aggressive brain cancer in 2017, is "dying anyway" and his opposition to Haspel does not matter.

"I've always shared McCain's views on torture and looked up to him on this", Flake told reporters this week.

Enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding that were used on terror suspects following the September 11, 2001 attacks would still be used today if it were up to former US Vice President Dick Cheney, he said in an interview on Thursday.