Trump backs Central Intelligence Agency nominee Haspel: She's 'tough on terrorists'

Sarah Sanders Calls Out Dem 'Hypocrisy' On Women's Empowerment

President Donald Trump defended Haspel in a tweet Monday morning, saying Democrats oppose her because "she is too tough on terror". That comparison is apt only in that she could and should face hard questioning from the Senate, as Mr. Trump's one-time nominee to lead the Veterans Administration would have.

If confirmed, Haspel would be the CIA's first permanent female director. "I know that she is talented but I also know that she was fully supportive of the program that many of us are very critical of", she said.

White House aides on Friday sought out additional details about Haspel's involvement in the CIA's now-defunct program of detaining and brutally interrogating terror suspects after the September 11 attacks as they prepared her for the confirmation hearing.

Haspel feared becoming "the next Ronny Jackson", the White House physician who withdrew his nomination as Veterans Affairs secretary amid questions about alleged misconduct on the job, one official told the Post.

Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said Monday it was "unacceptable" how little material about CIA director nominee Gina Haspel has been made public, while the CIA provided the Senate with a new batch of classified materials related to Haspel's record. After becoming the CIA's deputy director one year ago, Trump nominated her for the agency's top job to replace the former director Mike Pompeo, recently confirmed as the top USA diplomat.

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Haspel's confirmation hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

She took over last month as the acting Central Intelligence Agency director after the previous director, Mike Pompeo, was sworn in as secretary of state. Her nomination would be in jeopardy only if she loses the support of Republicans, who hold a slim 51-49 seat majority in the Senate.

Warner has also asked the Justice Department to provide the Senate Intelligence Committee with the full Justice Department report on the tapes incident that was written by the special prosecutor appointed to investigate the matter, who did not bring any charges. Democrats say she should be disqualified because she was the chief of base at a covert detention site in Thailand where two terrorism suspects were subjected to waterboarding, a technique that simulates drowning.

Trump, who has urged Americans to be tougher on terrorists, highlighted Haspel's experience as a benefit. If confirmed, she'll replace former CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who was recently confirmed to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state. In that time, she has been the recipient of several awards, such as the George H.W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism and the Presidential Rank Award.

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