While the New York Times and other news outlets are reporting that Gina Haspel, President Trump's nominee to head the Central Intelligence Agency, apparently may have the votes to secure Senate confirmation even though she was directly involved in the Bush administration's overseas torture program during the Iraq war, one Alabama senator will vote no.
Heidi Heitkamp announced she would support Gina Haspel's bid to lead the CIA Tuesday joining a few fellow Democratic senators who have likely sealed her confirmation. 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.
Nelson, on the fence until now, has seen some re-election pressure Tuesday to vote for Haspel, with Republican opponent Gov. Rick Scott putting out an ad accusing him of being too party-line Democrat, and theNational Republican Senatorial Committee running digital ads in Florida encouraging voters to urge him to support her nomination. The committee's eight Republicans were joined by Democrats Mark Warner of Virginia and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Three years later, when she was based at Central Intelligence Agency headquarters outside Washington, Haspel wrote a cable calling for videotapes of the waterboarding to be destroyed. Haspel has vowed not to restart such a program, but has declined to disclose details about her involvement.
"There is a legal and moral responsibility that comes with operating in secrecy", Sen. Some of Ms. Haspel's past actions and beliefs did not meet that standard.
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., will support Haspel as well, his office said.
"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", Mr. Warner said. In November, McCain convinced Manchin to vote against Steven Bradbury to become the general counsel of the Department of Transportation because of his role in crafting the memos that authorized the CIA's use of torture in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.
Haspel has pledged not to implement an interrogation program of that kind again.
Trump has said the country should consider resuming harsh interrogation techniques.
Intelligence committee members have seen this report, but so far other senators, who will vote on Haspel's nomination later this month, have not.