Senate panel poised to recommend Gina Haspel's confirmation

The Senate Intelligence Committee will vote behind closed doors Wednesday to advance Gina Haspel's nomination as President Donald Trump's CIA director pick. She looks all but assured to win Senate confirmation

"Gina Haspel is the most qualified person the President could choose to lead the CIA and the most prepared nominee in the 70 year history of the Agency", said Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hinted Tuesday that her confirmation vote could come as early as this week.

Five Democrats have announced that they will vote to confirm Haspel.

Shortly after her letter became public Tuesday, three Democratic senators announced their support for Haspel, effectively ensuring that she will be confirmed as the first woman to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.

But the Democrats backing Haspel have pointed to her endorsement from a wide range of former intelligence officials, including top Obama administration officials, as well as an acknowledgment in a Tuesday letter that she believed the interrogation program was damaging and shouldn't have been conducted, something she didn't say at her public hearing. 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.

At her confirmation hearing last week, Haspel faced sharp questions from Democrats about whether she thought the interrogation program was immoral.

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The CIA declassified a review that found "no fault with the performance" of Haspel in the destruction of the videotape evidence, which could help clear the air for senators who are troubled by her involvement in the matter. Some of Ms. Haspel's past actions and beliefs did not meet that standard.

In addition to Warner, Democratic Sens.

Trump has said the country should consider resuming harsh interrogation techniques.

McCain, who was beaten as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, has urged colleagues to reject the nominee over her past role in Central Intelligence Agency interrogations. Rand Paul of Kentucky is likely to vote against her and GOP Sen.

"I do not support use of enhanced interrogation techniques for any goal", Haspel wrote. Brennan is an outspoken critic of Trump but called Haspel "highly qualified" and urged senators to view her with an open mind.

Haspel's opponents included more than 100 retired admirals and generals, who said her role in the CIA's use of torture would encourage foreign governments to torture American soldiers and provide propaganda for extremists who want to attack the USA.

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