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Gina Haspel wins approval from Senate Intel Committee

Gina Haspel wins approval from Senate Intel Committee

Veteran covert operative Gina Haspel was approved Wednesday to become director of the Central Intelligence Agency in a crucial Senate panel vote, despite her record of involvement in torture in the early 2000s, AFP reported.The Intelligence Committee voted 10-5 to forward her nomination to lead the United States spy agency to the entire Senate, virtually assuring final approval of her nomination.

The Senate intelligence committee voted 10-5 on Wednesday to recommend the full Senate confirm Haspel.

President Trump nominated Haspel to the post, and her confirmation process has been under intense scrutiny. At her confirmation hearing last week, Haspel repeatedly refused to call the CIA's post-9/11 treatment of prisoners "torture", and declined to state whether she believes torture is immoral.

A career intelligence officer and now acting director, Haspel faces ongoing questions over her work running a covert detention site where terror suspects were brutally interrogated. "As a cosponsor of the McCain-Feinstein amendment that banned enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding, I appreciated Ms. Haspel's commitment that she "would not fail to reject a proposal" that is "contrary to [her] moral and ethical values" or that is inconsistent with 'CIA's mission, expertise, and the law'". She also oversaw the destruction of videotapes showing torture at the black site.

"Gina Haspel is probably the most certified individual the President may select to guide the Central Intelligence Agency and probably the most ready nominee within the 70 12 months historical past of the Company", Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., stated in an announcement.

In this May 9, photo, CIA nominee Gina Haspel testifies during a confirmation hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee, on Capitol Hill.

"With the benefit of hindsight and my experience as a senior agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one the CIA should have undertaken", according to Haspel's written answers to some 60 additional questions from lawmakers. The only Senate Republicans who are not expected to vote for her are Kentucky's Rand Paul and Arizona's John McCain, who is battling cancer and is not expected to be present for the ballot.

Haspel's letter came after Republican Sen.

Committee chairman Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican, quietly nudged Democrats to support her.

Meanwhile, the Physicians for Human Rights said it remains opposed to Haspel's confirmation, saying her assurances are "inadequate to address grave concerns" they raised earlier.

"I believe she is someone who can and will stand up to the President if ordered to do something illegal or immoral - like a return to torture", Warner said in explaining his decision to vote for her. Her nomination can now be considered by the full Senate.

If she passes confirmation, Haspel would become the first female director in the agency's history of over 70 years.

But not having caught the bigger fish yet is no excuse for throwing this one back, let alone promoting her to head the very organization under whose auspices she committed her crimes. However, a letter sent by Haspel to top committee Democrat, Virginia Senator Mark Warner, seems to have sealed the deal for Trump's nominee.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Gerald Staberock, secretary general of the World Organization Against Torture (OMCT), said Haspel's expected confirmation is a "terrible message by the USA that torture is not a crime".