Trump Defends CIA Nominee, Calls On Her To 'Win'

Trump nominated Haspel, who would be the first woman to lead the intelligence agency, to succeed Mike Pompeo, who has become secretary of state.

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Trump Defends CIA Nominee, Calls On Her To 'Win'

Haspel is expected to face challenging confirmation hearing in Senate Intelligence Committee


Washington:  U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday defended his pick to run the CIA after sources said she had sought to withdraw from the nomination over concerns about her involvement in the agency's interrogation programme.

Gina Haspel is expected to face a challenging confirmation hearing in the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday. Two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters on Sunday she had offered to step aside for fear the hearing would damage the CIA.

The Washington Post first reported her offer to withdraw.

"My highly respected nominee for CIA Director, Gina Haspel, has come under fire because she was too tough on Terrorists ... Win Gina!" Trump wrote in a post on Twitter.

Trump nominated Haspel, who would be the first woman to lead the intelligence agency, to succeed Mike Pompeo, who has become secretary of state.

Critics of Haspel's nomination have taken issue with her role in a defunct programme in which the CIA detained and interrogated al Qaeda suspects in secret prisons abroad using techniques, including waterboarding, widely condemned as torture.

Former President George W. Bush authorized the Rendition, Detention and Interrogation Program after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Many details of Haspel's work remain classified. Sources familiar with her career who requested anonymity said she was at one point the chief of the CIA station in a country where harsh interrogations were used on at least one terrorism suspect.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Haspel "is 100 percent committed to going through this confirmation process and being confirmed as the next leader of the CIA."
© Thomson Reuters 2018


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