WaPo: Fearing Torture Questions, Haspel Briefly Backed Away From CIA Nomination

AFP Contributor/AFP

Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s nominee to be CIA director, told the White House she intended to abandon that nomination Friday over concerns about a potentially tough Senate confirmation hearing, the Washington Post reported Sunday citing four unnamed U.S. officials.

But by Saturday, according to the Post’s sources, Haspel agreed to stick with the nomination. The Associated Press followed the Post’s report with a similar account, citing two unnamed senior administration officials. 

Haspel had been summoned to the White House on Friday to explain records from the George W. Bush-era torture program that “show that Haspel was an enthusiastic supporter of what the CIA was doing,” in the Post’s words.

Haspel’s oversaw a secret CIA black site in Thailand during Bush’s presidency. She later penned a cable for a superior instructing staff at the site to destroy tapes showing the torture of detainees there.

At the West Wing on Friday, Haspel said she didn’t want her nomination to hurt the CIA, according to the Post, nor did she want to be “the next Ronny Jackson,” one unnamed source said.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and White House legislative affairs aide Marc Short went to the CIA after that meeting to speak further with Haspel, the Post reported. And Trump ancouraged Haspel to continue as his nominee.

Haspel’s confirmation hearing is scheduled for Wednesday.

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