Trump defends CIA nominee Haspel against Dem criticism

But Trump, who has several times expressed his support of torture, including waterboarding, today tweeted defending Haspel as "the most qualified person, a woman, who Democrats want OUT because she is too tough on terror". Whether Ms. Haspel was an enthusiastic proponent of what the Bush administration euphemistically referred to as "enhanced interrogation techniques" or simply following along with tactics that the White House claimed at the time were legal, there is no doubt that she oversaw the repeated waterboarding of a detainee at a secret Central Intelligence Agency site in Thailand and that she was later involved in the destruction of evidence related to it. The president's failure to vet nominees to lead massive, complex government agencies has given us such gems as Scott Pruitt, who's been dogged by scandal since taking office, and Betsy DeVos, who barely scraped by after stumbling repeatedly during questioning. She served nearly entirely undercover and much of her record is classified.

Her misgivings prompted senior White House aides, including press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, to rush later on Friday to meet her at CIA HQ in Langley, Virginia.

This is when she offered to withdraw, the officials said.

Ms 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.

Haspel will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday for her confirmation hearing.

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Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence Sue Gordon said at the Cipher Brief's annual Threat Conference in Georgia in April that Haspel was one of her "dearest friends and favorite colleagues", noting that Haspel "is so solid, so true, and so not breathless that she will be an fantastic leader of CIA".

Haspel is allegedly also responsible for the subsequent 2005 destruction of videotapes that documented the torture.

The officials insisted that Haspel "has made vital contributions to the strength and security of our country and has dedicated her life to serving her fellow Americans". "We're glad she's moving forward". If confirmed, she'll replace former CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who was recently confirmed to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.

"Haspel was not the architect of the CIA's enhanced interrogations". Per the Post, the president-who has himself endorsed torture: "You can say what you want [but] I have no doubt that it does work in term of information and other things", he told CNN's Jake Tapper in early 2016-"learned of the drama" and "decided to push for Haspel to remain as the nominee after initially signaling he would support whatever decision was taken".

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