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Haspel, Trump’s Choice For CIA Director, Withdraws Her Name

Taken aback at her stance, senior White House aides, including legislative affairs head Marc Short and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, rushed to meet Haspel at her office late Friday afternoon.

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Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s pick to head the CIA, has offered to withdraw her nomination after some White House officials raised concerns about her ability to get confirmed, the media reported.

Haspel told the White House she was interested in stepping aside if it avoided the spectacle of a brutal confirmation hearing on Wednesday and potential damage to the Central Intelligence Agency’s reputation and her own, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.

She was summoned to the White House on Friday for a meeting on her history in the CIA’s controversial interrogation programme – which employed techniques such as waterboarding that are widely seen as torture – and signaled that she was going to withdraw her nomination.

Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump's pick to head the CIA, has offered to withdraw her nomination after some White House officials raised concerns about her ability to get confirmed, the media reported.
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She then returned to CIA headquarters, informed officials told The Washington Post.

Taken aback at her stance, senior White House aides, including legislative affairs head Marc Short and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, rushed to meet Haspel at her office late Friday afternoon.

Haspel, who serves as the CIA’s deputy director and has spent 33 years in the agency, most of it undercover, faces some opposition in Congress because of her connection to the interrogation programme, which was set up after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

In 2002, Haspel oversaw a secret CIA detention facility in Thailand, where one Al Qaeda suspect was waterboarded.

Three years later, Haspel was involved in the CIA’s destruction of nearly 100 videotapes that recorded the detainees’ interrogations, launching an investigation by a special prosecutor who ultimately decided not to bring charges against those involved.

An administration official told The Washington Post that the nomination remains on track.

Also Read: North Korea Accuses US of Pressurising, Says It Will Harm Peace 

“There is a hearing prep session today, courtesy calls with senators Monday and Tuesday, and classified materials will be delivered to Senate security so senators can read the real record instead of relying on gossip and unfounded smears,” the official added.

A CIA spokesperson told CNN on Sunday: “There has been a fascinating phenomenon over the last few weeks. Those who know the true Gina Haspel — who worked with her, who served with her, who helped her confront terrorism, Russia and countless other threats to our nation — they almost uniformly support her.

“When the American people finally have a chance to see the true Gina Haspel on Wednesday, they will understand why she is so admired and why she is and will be a great leader for this Agency.” (IANS)

 

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Gina Haspel is Confirmed as the First Female Director of CIA

The US Senate has approved Gina Haspel as the first female Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) despite her role in the spy agency's brutal detention and interrogation programmes post-9/11 terror attacks.

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A 33-year veteran of the agency, 61-year-old Haspel spent most of her career as an undercover operative, the US media reported.
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The US Senate has approved Gina Haspel as the first female Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) despite her role in the spy agency’s brutal detention and interrogation programmes post-9/11 terror attacks.

Haspel’s confirmation on Thursday in a 54-45 vote followed a partisan fight among senators about Haspel’s past ties to the CIA’s former rendition, detention and interrogation activities, carried out in the years following the September 11 attacks, with the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding, now widely considered torture.

Six Democrats crossed party lines to vote in her favour. According to the Washington Post, Haspel appeared to have been helped by some last-minute arm-twisting by former CIA Directors John Brennan and Leon Panetta, who contacted at least five of the six Democrats to endorse her bid to join President Donald Trump’s Cabinet.

One of the six senators, Mark Warner, said Haspel had told him the agency should never have resorted to so-called enhanced interrogation techniques.

Warner said she had pledged never to use such methods even if Trump demanded it. “I believe she is someone who can and will stand up to the President, who will speak truth to power if this President orders her to do something illegal or immoral, like a return to torture,” he said before the vote.

Two Republicans — Jeff Flake and Rand Paul — voted against Haspel. Opponents of her nomination included more than 100 retired admirals and generals who said her role in the agency’s use of torture would encourage foreign governments to torture American soldiers.

Republican chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee Richard Burr said the confirmation of a woman as CIA head would send an important message.

A 33-year veteran of the agency, 61-year-old Haspel spent most of her career as an undercover operative, the US media reported.
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“Many others who have served, or are currently serving, have cracked the glass ceiling at the agency. Gina is poised to break it,” he said.

“It may be impossible to measure the importance of that breakthrough but I do know that it will send a signal to the current workforce and to the workforce of the future that a lifetime of commitment to the agency can and will be rewarded.”

A 33-year veteran of the agency, 61-year-old Haspel spent most of her career as an undercover operative, the US media reported.

Haspel supervised a secret prison in Thailand in 2002 where harsh interrogations were conducted and she destroyed CIA interrogation tapes years later. Her specific role in the programme remains classified.

One suspect that was brought there, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, was brutalised using methods that were later banned by President Barack Obama.

Al-Nashiri, who was interrogated after Haspel took over the post, was also subjected to sleep deprivation, nudity, extreme temperatures, being held in a small box, and “walling” (being slammed repeatedly into a wall).

Also Read: Suspect in Leak of CIA Hacking Tools Identified by U.S.

Three years later, Haspel ordered the destruction of 92 video tapes that documented the interrogation of him, and Abu Zubaydah, who was also held at the Thai location.

At least 119 men were tortured by the US in the aftermath of the attacks on the World Trade Centre and Pentagon, according to a 2014 Senate report. (IANS)