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Trump’s CIA Pick Passes Crucial First Step


by Robert Donachie

The Senate Intelligence Committee gave President Donald Trump’s pick to head the CIA, Gina Hasepl, a positive recommendation Wednesday.

The Committee voted 10-5 Wednesday in favor of Haspel, who must now be confirmed before the entire Senate body before she can become the next CIA director.

Every Republican member of the committee voted in favor of Haspel, including two Democrats — Sens. Mark Warner of Virginia and Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Four Democrats and one Independent voted against Haspel, including: Sens. Dianne Feinstein of California, Ron Wyden of Oregon, Kamala Harris of California, Martin Heinrich of New Mexico and Angus King of Maine, who is an Independent.

Haspel’s confirmation is likely a sure bet in the Senate, after Warner, Manchin and Democratic Sens. Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota came out in support of her late Tuesday afternoon.

The Democrats’ support for Haspel is crucial, given that GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is likely to vote against her and GOP Sen. John McCain of Arizona is absent.

The intelligence committee grilled Haspel earlier this month regarding her role in the post-9/11 interrogations and the 2005 destruction of video evidence of CIA agents waterboarding terrorist suspects. Haspel served as the chief of staff to Jose Rodriquez, the director of operations for counterterrorism, when he ordered the destruction of videotapes of waterboarding sessions. Haspel was reportedly in favor of destroying the evidence.

The CIA declassified a review that found “no fault with the performance” of Haspel in the destruction of the videotape evidence, which could help clear the air for senators who are troubled by her involvement in the matter.

Haspel said that if she was given the order again, she would not support it.

Haspel, if confirmed, will replace Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as the next director of one the nation’s top intelligence agencies. She would be the first female director in the agency’s more than 70-year history.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell hinted Tuesday that her confirmation vote could come as early as this week.

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