Trump CIA Nominee Sought to Withdraw Over Interrogation Role

The report notes that White House officials are unsure whether she will formally withdraw, but that President Donald Trump, alerted to her reservations, has urged her to remain as the nominee.

She told the White House she would step aside to avoid a brutal Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing on Wednesday that might damage the CIA, the officials told the Post.

Many Democrats have said she should be disqualified because she was the chief of base at a covert detention site in Thailand where two terrorism suspects were subjected to waterboarding, a technique that simulates drowning.

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., is battling brain cancer and might not make the vote, and even if he does, it's unclear if he'd back Haspel.

Ms. Haspel's offer on Friday to withdraw her nomination sent administration officials scurrying and a group of top aides, including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House spokeswoman, headed to C.I.A. headquarters in Langley, Va., to prevent Ms. Haspel from dropping out, these people said.

Haspel's last-minute second-guessing of whether to maintain her bid is indicative of the uphill climb her nomination faces in Congress.

According to the Post, Short told Haspel she could still be confirmed despite the questions over her role in the interrogation program. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said the more material she reads about Haspel's role in the interrogation program, including the destruction of tapes, the more unsettled she has become. Her nomination would be in jeopardy only if she loses the support of Republicans, who hold a slim 51-49 seat majority in the Senate. After she was found to have destroyed video evidence of the waterboarding, no disciplinary action was taken against Haspel.

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Also backing Haspel's nomination recently was former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, during an appearance last week on "Fox and Friends".

Trump learned of Haspel's change of heart on Friday and said he still wanted her to be the nominee.

In a statement, the White House said she has shown an "unparalleled commitment to the mission of the Central Intelligence Agency and the rule of law" and has counterterrorism and management experience and strong working relations with administration officials.

Last month, Trump's pick for secretary of veterans affairs, the White House doctor Ronny Jackson, withdrew from consideration after a number of allegations arose concerning his conduct.

As with different nominations, this one hit a roadblock however is again on monitor, stated a 3rd administration official aware of the trouble to get her confirmed.

Meanwhile, the pieces of information that are known about Haspel are disturbing to those who oppose torture.

  • Sonia Alvarado