Committee approves Trump's Central Intelligence Agency director nominee, setting up full Senate vote

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The committee voted behind closed doors Wednesday morning.

The constructive assessment units her up for a closing vote earlier than the total Senate within the coming days.

Haspel pledged at her confirmation hearing that she would never restart the program, in place in the years after the September 11, 2001 attacks, but did not go as far as saying it should not have been started.

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.

"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. Still, McCain said her role "in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Gina Haspel failed that test", said Krulak, who organized a letter signed by more than 100 retired generals and admirals expressing concern over her nomination. John McCain (R-Ariz.), who endured years of it as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who authored the Senate's definitive report on the CIA's practices - to declare Haspel unconfirmable.

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Haspel's letter was requested by Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.), who, believing Haspel had been "more forthcoming" in private meetings, gave her a second chance to say more clearly and in writing that "the enhanced interrogation program is not one the Central Intelligence Agency should have undertaken" and that "the United States must be an example to the rest of the world". "There is no reason why her confirmation should be delayed - and I look forward to advancing it expeditiously following the committee's action". Her refusal to acknowledge torture's immorality is disqualifying.

If she passes confirmation, Haspel would become the first female director in the agency's history of over 70 years. Haspel danced around those queries by saying she would not restart the program and that she supports the current "stricter moral standard" after Congress changed the law.

Confirmation by the full Senate appeared likely as five Democrats — Mark Warner of Virginia, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelley of Indiana, Bill Nelson of Florida and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota — announced their support.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hinted Tuesday that Haspel's confirmation vote could come relatively soon.

"While I won't condemn those that made these hard calls, and I have noted the valuable intelligence collected, the program ultimately did damage to our officers and our standing in the world", Haspel continued.

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

Rand Paul of Kentucky and John McCain of Arizona, are opposed to Haspel's nomination, and McCain isn't expected to be back in Washington for the vote while he battles brain cancer.

Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, McCain's Arizona colleague, has said he's undecided.

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 United States that torture is not a crime".

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