Trump's Acting CIA Director Wanted to Withdraw over Interrogation Role

CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel

CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel

President Trump's nominee to lead the CIA, Deputy Director Gina Haspel, nearly withdrew herself from consideration for the job over concerns that she would face a hard confirmation process thanks to her role in the George W. Bush administration's torture regime.

"Discussions stretched several hours, officials said, and the White House was not entirely sure she would stick with her nomination until Saturday afternoon, according to the officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations", the daily reported.

An administration official told the Post that Haspel's nomination will continue as planned.

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Haspel was being put through the paces ahead of Wednesday's Senate hearing, administration officials said, including sitting in on preparation sessions and continuing her visits with senators this week.

For Haspel, her biggest worry is that she could become the "next Ronny Jackson", meaning she does not want to be forced to withdraw her nomination due to allegations against her character or past behavior.

According to the Seattle Times, Haspel was at the Central Intelligence Agency headquarters when she was preparing for the upcoming confirmation hearing. For one, it appears that Haspel was an "enthusiastic supporter" of the controversial waterboarding program, which casts her in a negative light. Her nomination would be in jeopardy only if she loses the support of Republicans, who hold a slim 51-49 seat majority in the Senate. The senior White House aide also accused Democrats of hypocrisy over their opposition to a female nominee.

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Since May 3, the White House has been releasing many positive testimonials of Haspel, according to CBS News.

Trump learned of Haspel's change of heart on Friday and said he still wanted her to be the nominee.

Sanders said any Democrats who "claims to support women's empowerment and our national security but opposes her nomination is a total hypocrite". But it's at odds with Trump, who spoke in the campaign about toughening the USA approach to fighting extremists and vowed to authorize waterboarding and a "hell of a lot worse". The memo obtained by CBS News places responsibility for the destruction of 92 tapes on Jose Rodriguez Jr., then the head of the agency's Directorate of Operations, while noting Haspel drafted the cable authorizing the measure.

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"When the American people finally have a chance to see the true Gina Haspel on Wednesday, they will understand why she is so admired and why she is and will be a great leader for this Agency", the spokesperson said.

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