May 17, 2018
Gina Haspel’s nomination to the position of CIA director was approved (10-5) in a closed-door meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee early on May 16, CBS News has reported. It now goes to the Senate floor, where confirmation appears likely—although many Americans are still questioning her values and qualifications.
Committee Chairman Senator Richard Burr, (R-North Carolina), said after the vote that Haspel represents 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.”
Vice Chairman Senator Mark Warner, D-Virginia, who originally had expressed concern about Haspel’s history at the agency —during which she took the lead on harsh forms of interrogation, including waterboarding, used on al Qaeda detainees at one of the CIA’s “black site” prisons—stated that he believes Haspel will be a “strong advocate for the Agency’s workforce, and an independent voice who can and will stand up on behalf of our nation’s intelligence community.”
He added, “Most importantly, 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.”
However, Americans continue to be split on whether overseeing torture should disqualify Haspel from getting the job, a HuffPost/YouGov survey of 1,000 U.S. citizens over the age of 18 finds.
Told that Haspel reportedly supervised a “black site” where CIA personnel tortured suspected terrorists to gain information, 20% say they consider that to be a good thing and 39% view it as a bad thing.
Just under a third consider that record sufficient reason for her not to be confirmed to head the CIA, while 36% say it is not.
Those polled appear more troubled by reports that Haspel also helped to destroy videotapes documenting the torture of detainees. By a 2-to-1 margin, 44 percent to 22 percent, they say those actions should disqualify her from becoming the CIA’s director.
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 brain cancer and is not expected to be present for the ballot.
Research contact: @HuffPost