President Trump's pick to lead the CIA Gina Haspel picked up endorsements from key Democrats Tuesday ahead of a confirmation vote expected later this week. But by the time he released the statement, two key swing votes on the committee, Manchin and GOP moderate Senator Susan Collins of ME, had already announced they would vote for Haspel. Rand Paul of Kentucky is likely to vote against her and GOP Sen.
"If she is confirmed, the Senate Intelligence Committee will continue to conduct thorough and vigorous oversight over the nation's intelligence agencies".
She's considered controversial because of her involvement in George W. Bush-era "enhanced interrogation techniques" - now widely viewed as torture - as well as her time running a Central Intelligence Agency black site and the destruction of videotapes of the interrogation of an al Qaeda suspect.
The letter, delivered to Warner along with her written responses to other questions posed by senators, struck a different tone than Haspel took at her confirmation hearing last week. A number of Democrats and two Republicans, Rand Paul and John McCain, have said they'll oppose her confirmation because of her role in supervising the use of the disputed techniques on suspected terrorists in the years after the September 11 attacks. However, in both our one-on-one meetings and in classified session before the Committee, I found Acting Director Haspel to be more forthcoming regarding her views on the interrogation program, which is why I asked her to memorialize those comments in writing. Joe Manchin III, West Virginia and Joe Donnelly, Indiana, have pledged support. But she added that the interrogation program "ultimately did damage to our officers and our standing in the world".
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Haspel's written responses also briefly addressed other important issues that did not come up at her hearing.
She needs only 50 votes but Republicans enjoy just a slim 51-49 majority in the chamber. Stand with John McCain against torture. "Someone who has been an active participant and enthusiast for torture is not someone who should represent America", he said in an interview.
"I think it ought to be made available to all senators if not the general public", King said of the Justice Department report. A committee vote is expected Wednesday.