Published: Wed, May 09, 2018
Global Media | By Derrick Guzman

Trump defends nominee for Central Intelligence Agency

Trump defends nominee for Central Intelligence Agency

President Donald Trump took to Twitter Tuesday to take aim at John Kerry, endorse a cabinet nominee, and announce an worldwide phone call.

Haspel met with Republican and Democratic senators on Monday. She was scheduled to conduct multiple meetings with lawmakers who could decide her fate, a White House aide said.

Perhaps what really irks Democrats about Haspel's appointment is that she reminds them of what they were weak on during the Bush years: opposing Bush's overseas adventures, and attacking his many legal justifications for an inhumane practice that doesn't even yield good intelligence. Haspel is acting director and would be the first woman to be confirmed.

'[In] my meetings with Gina, she was 100 per cent committed to being the best nominee we could find, ' Short said.

"Given that we are only two days from the date of your confirmation hearing on May 9, 2018, this lack of transparency for the American people about someone nominated for a cabinet-level position is unacceptable", Warner wrote. Trump has said he favors them under certain circumstances.

In a bid to boost her standing ahead of the Senate confirmation hearings, Trump sent out a tweet that celebrated rather than downplayed Haspel's role in the "enhanced interrogation" programme that included waterboarding - the simulated drowning of detainees. The uncertainty surrounding her fate is an unwelcome development for an administration recovering from the botched nomination of Ronny Jackson to become the secretary of Veterans Affairs, a failure that highlighted the White House's struggle to coordinate with Capitol Hill and professionalize its nominations process. "She is a total professional", an intelligence analyst told The Straits Times.

Charging a "lack of transparency", Senator Mark Warner made the request two days before the panel holds a confirmation hearing where Gina Haspel will face questioning about her history with the Central Intelligence Agency program that used interrogation methods denounced as torture.

"The decision to destroy the tapes by Rodriguez and the creation of that cable by Gina Haspel and her advocacy of the destruction of the tapes" led to the eventual 7,000-page report, Jones said on a call with reporters last week.

After Haspel's offer to withdraw, White House aides worked to reassure her that she had the president's support.

But Haspel's opponents, including human rights groups and some former military and intelligence officials, say the Central Intelligence Agency hasn't fully disclosed her role in "enhanced interrogation" programs after the September 11 attacks. John McCain has criticized Haspel over torture and is absent from the Senate, where Republicans hold just a 51-49 majority.

Robert Ford, a former USA ambassador to Syria, said confirming Haspel could undercut US efforts to promote human rights because she'll always be identified with the enhanced interrogation program.

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