U.S. Senate panel advances Trump nominee to lead CIA

By Patricia Zengerle WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S.

Reuters May 17, 2018 01:05:34 IST
U.S. Senate panel advances Trump nominee to lead CIA

US Senate panel advances Trump nominee to lead CIA

By Patricia Zengerle

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee voted on Wednesday to approve President Donald Trump's nominee to be CIA director, Gina Haspel, and she is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate as soon as next week.

The panel voted 10-5 behind closed doors to approve the nomination, which was expected after two of its seven Democrats, Vice Chairman Mark Warner and Joe Manchin, said they would join the panel's eight Republicans in backing Haspel.

Despite criticism - including from Republican Senators Rand Paul and John McCain - because of ties to the CIA's former harsh interrogation program for terrorism suspects, Haspel is expected to become the first female director of the spy agency.

Senator Richard Burr, the committee's Republican chairman, said in a statement that Haspel is the best person to lead the agency, saying she "has acted morally, ethically, and legally" during her career.

Haspel, a 33-year CIA veteran, is currently its acting director.

Debate over her confirmation has been dominated by questions about her part in the spy agency's use of methods including waterboarding, a type of simulated drowning widely considered torture, in the years after the Sept. 11 attacks.

McCain, who has been away from Washington all year as he battles brain cancer, urged the Senate not to vote for Haspel.

Tortured himself while a prisoner of war in Vietnam, McCain cited Haspel's role in the interrogation program, saying the country should only use methods to keep itself safe that are "as right and just as the values we aspire to live up to and promote in the world."

Rights groups denounced the committee vote. Christopher Anders of the American Civil Liberties Union said the committee was "rewarding a dark, criminal chapter of our history."

Besides Warner, at least four other Democrats, all up for re-election this year in states that backed Trump in 2016, have expressed support for Haspel. She needs a majority to be confirmed in the 100-member Senate, which Republicans control 51-49. Vice President Mike Pence can break a tie.

Haspel pledged at her confirmation hearing that she would never restart the harsh interrogation program.

She wrote to Warner on Monday, however, and said the CIA should never have undertaken the program.

Trump nominated Haspel, then CIA deputy director, in March to succeed Mike Pompeo, a former Republican member of the House of Representatives, as head of the agency..

Haspel became acting director after Pompeo was confirmed as Trump's second secretary of state.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Peter Cooney and Jonathan Oatis)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.