Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) on Wednesday urged the Senate to reject Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s nominee to be CIA director. “I believe Gina Haspel is a patriot who loves our country and has devoted her professional life to its service and defense,” said McCain, who has been at home in Arizona since December as he undergoes treatment for brain cancer. “However, Ms. Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying. I believe the Senate should exercise its duty of advice and consent and reject this nomination.” At her confirmation hearing earlier Wednesday in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Haspel was repeatedly pressed about her involvement with the CIA’s controversial enhanced-interrogation—or torture—program for detainees. McCain, who himself was tortured when he served as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, has long opposed those tactics. In 2002, Haspel ran a so-called CIA “black site” in Thailand. During her confirmation hearing, Haspel told senators that she would not restart the controversial program, but she would not answer questions about whether the tactics used were immoral. McCain joins Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) as the only Republicans so far who oppose Haspel, who is likely to be narrowly confirmed.
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