U.S. Senator Mark Warner says he will support the nomination of Gina Haspel to be the Director of the CIA after all. Warner, a Democrat, called it “a difficult decision” in light of Haspel’s alleged role with now-defunct “enhanced interrogation” programs, but he also said she has “served our country with dedication for 33 years.”
News release: U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA), Vice Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, announced today that he will support the nomination of Gina Haspel to be Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA): “Gina Haspel has served our country with dedication for 33 years. In many ways, her story is representative of the thousands of people at the Agency and throughout the intelligence community who serve quietly, without recognition, and often at great personal risk, in order to keep our nation safe from those who wish to do us harm.
“Over the last year I’ve had the opportunity to work with Ms. Haspel in her role as Deputy Director, and I have always found her to be professional and forthright with the Intelligence Committee. 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.
“I acknowledge that this has been a difficult decision. There are valid questions that have been raised regarding the Acting Director’s record, and I have been frank with Ms. Haspel that I wish she had been more open with the American public during this process. However, in both our one-on-one meetings and in classified session before the Committee, I found Acting Director Haspel to be more forthcoming regarding her views on the interrogation program, which is why I asked her to memorialize those comments in writing. I also take to heart the strong support Ms. Haspel has among rank-and-file members of the intelligence community and from intelligence community leaders who served under President Obama.
“I’m going to support Gina Haspel’s nomination to be Director of the CIA. I also respect my colleagues who have made a different decision. “If she is confirmed, the Senate Intelligence Committee will continue to conduct thorough and vigorous oversight over the nation’s intelligence agencies.”