Trump’s CIA nominee sought to withdraw over interrogation role

President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the CIA, Gina Haspel, sought to withdraw over concerns about her role in the agency’s interrogation program, as reported by Reuters.

Haspel’s offer to withdraw on Friday was prompted by growing concern among her supporters that White House staff were becoming nervous that the nomination was in trouble, Reuters reported.

The Washington Post first reported her offer to withdraw.

CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel attends the ceremonial swearing-in ceremony for U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department in Washington, DC on May 2, 2018. (Image: Shawn Thew / EPA)

Haspel, who would be the first woman to lead the CIA, is the first career operations officer to be nominated to lead the agency in decades. She served almost entirely undercover and much of her record is classified.

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

Haspel has told lawmakers she would stand firm against any effort to restart the brutal program, administration officials said on Friday. She is expected to reiterate that publicly this week.

After Haspel’s offer to withdraw, White House aides worked to reassure her that she had the president’s support. As with other nominations, this one hit a roadblock but is back on track, said a third administration official.

Haspel’s conversations with senators will continue ahead of her confirmation hearing at the Senate intelligence committee and a later full vote in the Senate.

“Acting Director Haspel is a highly qualified nominee who has dedicated over three decades of service to her country,” White House spokesman Raj Shah said in response to a request for White House comment.

“Her nomination will not be derailed by partisan critics who side with the ACLU (rights organization) over the CIA on how to keep the American people safe,” he added.

Trump named Haspel, the first woman tapped to head the Central Intelligence Agency, to succeed Mike Pompeo, who became secretary of state last month.

Sources: The Guardian, Reuters, US News

Zachary Ballif

The Kootneeti Team - White House Watch

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