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

CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel

President Donald Trump attempted to bolster support Monday for his embattled nominee to lead the CIA, Gina Haspel, ahead of her confirmation hearing later this week.

"My highly respected nominee for CIA Director, Gina Haspel, has come under fire because she was too tough on Terrorists", the president wrote on Twitter. John McCain (R. -Ariz.), who was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, said she would need "to explain the nature and extent of her involvement in the CIA's interrogation program".

Heading into a confirmation hearing with the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, Gina Haspel is not expected to have an easy time winning support in a 51-49 party split in the Senate.

Gina Haspel is eminently qualified, having risen from a case officer to deputy director over her 33-year career at the Central Intelligence Agency. The site was used to interrogate suspects and where torture of terror suspects, including waterboarding, took place, according to an executive summary published by the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI).

At a meeting Friday, Haspel offered to step aside amid all of the controversy surrounding her nomination to the position, however, her offer was dismissed.

She has received robust backing from former intelligence, diplomatic, military and national security officials, who praise her extensive intelligence career.

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"I'm confident she'll get confirmed", Short said in an interview on MSNBC.

Widespread pushback led several White House advisors to wonder if criticisms of her past interrogation techniques would stop all chances of Senate confirmation, the Washington Post reported.

But her being part of that is not denied. He also said in a recent interview that it has been hard for him to watch top officials under Trump defend the president. During her 33 years at the agency, she served in a number of posts, including deputy director of the National Clandestine Service and chief of staff for the director of the National Clandestine Service.

Three years later, Haspel was involved in the CIA's destruction of almost 100 videotapes that recorded the men's interrogations, touching off an investigation by a special prosecutor who ultimately decided not to bring charges against those involved.

Critics oppose promoting someone so closely identified with torture to the position of the United States spy chief. John McCain, who called the USA torture program "one of the darkest chapters in American history".

Last month more than 100 former top generals and admirals signed a letter urging senators to reject Haspel.

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