President Donald Trump, R, has nominated a 30-year CIA veteran to head up the intelligence agency. Democrats are criticizing Gina Haspel for her involvement in the CIA’s controversial interrogation program during the George W. Bush era. U.S. Senator Roy Blunt, R-Missouri, defends the president’s pick.
According to Fox News, Haspel oversaw a “black site” prison in Thailand following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. These types of institutions are controlled by the CIA and used by the U.S. government to detain alleged terror suspects. Fox says the site Haspel supervised included waterboarding, a technique now banned that is considered by many people to be a form of torture.
“In terms of the things that the CIA was told to do and told were legal to do at the time, that’s of course what you’d expect the CIA to be able to do,” Blunt tells Fox News. “Whether she was personally involved or not, I don’t have any reason to believe that.”
Blunt, a U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee member, says people would have to “really make things up” to come up with a reason to not have Haspel run the CIA.
“Gina Haspel is the best-prepared person ever to be nominated for this job,” he says. “I think in the Oval Office, she would always be a fearless advocate for the facts.”
Opponents also say confirming Haspel would be the first time the U.S. Senate endorses someone with an operational role in interrogation tactics like waterboarding.
On Sunday, the Washington Post reported that Haspel suggested withdrawing her nomination because of fear of lack of votes in her confirmation hearing. The story says discussions with White House officials led her to stay on board with the process.
Trump on Monday tweeted in support of Haspel by saying she’s “come under fire because she was too tough on terrorists.”
Haspel’s confirmation hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.
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