Committee Recommends Haspel Confirmation As More Democrats Announce Support
(INDIANAPOLIS) - Gina Haspel appears all but certain to be confirmed as CIA director, with support from both Indiana's senators.
Last weekend, Joe Donnelly became the second Democrat to announce he'd vote for Haspel, currently the agency's deputy director. Three more have signed on since, including two Intelligence Committee members who joined Republicans in sending her nomination to the full Senate on Wednesday. That's more than enough to offset the two Republicans, Arizona's John McCain and Kentucky's Rand Paul, who oppose Haspel's nomination over her role in overseeing a secret detention facility in Thailand where at least one terror suspect was waterboarded in the months after 9/11.
Indiana Republican Todd Young tweeted last week that Haspel is "incredibly experienced and qualified," and said he looks forward to supporting her nomination.
House members don't have a vote on confirmations, but Representative Jim Banks (R-3rd) praises Haspel's experience as an agency veteran, and says he doesn't share concerns about her part in the "extraordinary rendition" program. He says Haspel was doing her job, and notes CIA leaders from Republican and Democratic administrations have supported her nomination. He suggests Haspel wouldn't have been a controversial nominee if a Democratic president had appointed her.
Indiana Representatives Todd Rokita and Luke Messer also endorsed Haspel's nomination during their Senate campaigns.
Haspel pledged during her confirmation hearings not to revive waterboarding or other harsh interrogation techniques. In a follow-up letter to Virginia Senator Mark Warner, the Intelligence Committee's ranking Democrat, she added that in hindsight, it was a mistake to have used them at the time, and says while the program may have produced valuable intelligence, it "ultimately did damage to our officers and our standing in the world."
Warner announced his support for Haspel after the letter's release.
Gina Haspel (Photo: Melina Mara/Washington Post via Getty Images)