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.
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."
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