Gina Haspel Nominated as CIA Director

5 things you need to know now

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. Both senators are facing potentially tough reelections this year in states won by Trump. Mike Braun, Donnelly's Republican opponent, pressured the incumbent senator to vote for Haspel.

Criticism of Haspel has centered on her connection to the "enhanced interrogations" conducted during the George W. Bush administration, as well as her involvement in executing the destruction of interrogation tapes.

Brutal interrogation practices are now banned under US law, but debate on the issue has re-surfaced during Haspel's confirmation process because she was once involved in the CIA's interrogation program.

In an interview Thursday on Bloomberg Daybreak, Portman predicted "a tight vote" on the Senate floor, adding it was unfortunate "because I think she deserves more support than she's than she's going to get". She would replace Mike Pompeo, who was confirmed by the Senate as the new secretary of State.

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But she would not say that torture is immoral.

The Intelligence Committee is expected to vote to advance her nomination to the floor during a closed business meeting scheduled for Wednesday morning, and a Saturday morning announcement by Indiana Democratic Sen.

Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona is the only other Republican who is publicly considering opposing Haspel, in part because of his respect for McCain, a former prisoner of war. John McCain, a Republican who is still recovering from treatment for brain cancer and would likely not return in time for the Haspel vote, is firmly against the nomination.

A true creature of the CIA's operations directorate - who revealed before the world an uncertain moral compass - Haspel displayed remarkable unawareness of what was prominently in the news in the past that bore upon controversial matters on her watch.

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Haspel's confirmation had been complicated by an intent to vote "no" by Sen. He believes she has learned from her past in a way that will help her lead the agency into the future.

Haspel's nomination has renewed the fierce debate over torture from last decade, in which McCain led the fight to outlaw the techniques that the George W. Bush administration allowed Central Intelligence Agency interrogators to use in so-called black sites around the world after the 9/11 attacks.

Haspel's chances of winning confirmation improved following a hearing that, while contentious, featured no major missteps by the nominee.

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