Trump CIA Pick Sought to Withdraw Over Interrogation Concerns


"President Trump's pick to run the C.I.A., Gina Haspel, told White House officials last week that she would withdraw her nomination if they were concerned her role in the brutal interrogation of a Qaeda suspect would scuttle her confirmation and draw the intelligence agency into a fresh controversy over a program it disavowed years ago, according to administration officials and others familiar with the discussions".

She was summoned to the White House on Friday for a meeting on her history in the CIA's controversial interrogation program - which employed techniques such as waterboarding that are widely seen as torture - and signaled that she was going to withdraw her nomination. Press Secretary Sarah Sanders did not comment on Haspel's offer to withdraw but described her as "the best of the best" and a "patriot", the report said. Haspel's Senate confirmation hearing is set for Wednesday.

She has headed four Central Intelligence Agency stations across the globe, been a senior official in the CIA's Russian Federation operation, held several top roles in the division responsible for covert operations and, post-9/11, was a senior-level supervisor in counterterrorism.

Haspel was summoned to the White House on Friday for a meeting to discuss her history in the interrogation program that employed techniques, including waterboarding, widely condemned as torture, the Post reported, citing four unidentified senior United States officials. The nomination has sparked trepidation inside the White House, with some Trump advisers telling the president in recent weeks she was unlikely to be confirmed.

A mock demonstration of waterboarding is seen at a 2008 demonstration. The CIA has discontinued the practice and Haspel has vowed it will not be brought back
Trump CIA Pick Sought to Withdraw Over Interrogation Concerns

Gina Haspel, quite simply, is one of Trump's most capable and distinguished appointments. "Those who know the true Gina Haspel - who worked with her, who served with her, who helped her confront terrorism, Russian Federation and countless other threats to our nation - they nearly uniformly support her".

Haspel, one official said, was wary of suffering the same fate as failed veterans affairs nominee Ronny Jackson and of dredging up the CIA's troubled past.

But by Saturday, according to the Post's sources, Haspel agreed to stick with the nomination.

Raj Shah, a White House spokesman, on Sunday called Haspel a highly qualified nominee. She left afterwards to return to agency headquarters.

More news: Lionel Messi pressured referee in tunnel at half-time of Clasico -- Sergio Ramos
More news: 1600 opposition activists arrested in Moscow before Putin's 4th inauguration
More news: 23 dead in methane blasts at two Pakistan coal mines