- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 9, 2018

WASHINGTON (AP) - The Latest on Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s nominee to be CIA director (all times local):

8:50 p.m.

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona is urging his colleagues to vote against the confirmation of Gina Haspel as CIA director.

McCain was detained and beaten in prison during the Vietnam War and is a leading voice against harsh interrogation. He is battling brain cancer and is not expected to be able to vote.

He says that he respects Haspel but that her testimony at Wednesday’s confirmation hearing failed to fully explain her involvement in the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program after 9/11 and account for the mistakes the U.S. made in torturing detainees.

He says the methods the U.S. employs to keep the nation safe must be as right and just as the values that Americans aspire to live up to and promote in the world.


6 p.m.

Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine says he will vote against President Donald Trump’s nominee for CIA director.

King said Wednesday that Gina Haspel is an experienced and respected intelligence officer. But he says he must also weigh issues regarding her role in the CIA’s now-defunct harsh interrogation program and the destruction of videotapes showing some interrogation sessions.

King says that the CIA, under acting director Haspel’s leadership, has been slow to disclose information about her career.

He also complained that some of her responses during Wednesday’s confirmation hearing were “narrowly crafted and evasive.”

King says a vote for Haspel would, in essence, be a condoning of the destruction of the tapes, which occurred when Congress was starting to look into the interrogation program.

King caucuses with the Democrats.


3:15 p.m.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia says he has decided to vote to confirm Gina Haspel as the next director of the CIA.

Most Republicans, except Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, are expected to vote for Haspel. But support is not certain, which means she would need at least one Democratic vote to be confirmed by the Senate.

Vice President Mike Pence, as president of the Senate, can be called on to break a tie vote.

Manchin says he has found Haspel to be a “person of great character” and he has the utmost respect for the 33 years she has spent working for the CIA all over the world.

Manchin issued his statement shortly after attending Haspel’s confirmation hearing as a member of the Senate intelligence committee.


11:45 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s nominee to serve as CIA director says “I don’t believe torture works.”

Gina Haspel’s response comes in response to a question from Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris, who noted that President Donald Trump has said he believes torture works. She asked whether Haspel would agree with that statement.

Haspel says she believes CIA officers did extraordinary work to protect the country given the legal tools it was authorized to use.


11:20 a.m.

Senators want to know from Gina Haspel what she would do if President Donald Trump ordered her to waterboard a detainee.

Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine notes that the president as a candidate repeatedly expressed his support for waterboarding.

Haspel says during her confirmation hearing that she doesn’t believe Trump would ask her to do that, but she says the CIA is not the right place to conduct interrogations.

She says, “we don’t have interrogators and we don’t have interrogation expertise.” She says that other agencies have that expertise.

She says Trump has selected her to give him advice and that she would not “under any circumstances” restore an interrogation program at the CIA.


11 a.m.

Gina Haspel - who’s been nominated to be CIA director - says she wouldn’t put in place any presidential order that she thought was immoral, even if it was technically legal.

A Senate committee is holding a hearing on Haspel’s nomination, and Virginia Democrat Mark Warner asked whether she’d carry out any order from President Donald Trump that she found morally objectionable.

Haspel said she wouldn’t.

She’s pledged not to restart the CIA’s now defunct detention and interrogation program, even though Trump has said he supports harsh interrogation tactics such as waterboarding.

Haspel said she doesn’t believe Trump would ask her to resume waterboarding.

She said her “moral compass is strong” and that the CIA must undertake activities consistent with American values.


10:25 a.m.

President Donald Trump’s nominee to be the next CIA director says the spy agency learned “tough lessons” from its use of harsh detention and interrogation tactics on terror suspects after 9/11.

Gina Haspel says that in hindsight it’s clear that the spy agency was not prepared and did not have the expertise to use techniques like sleep deprivation and waterboarding, which simulates drowning, to get terror suspects to talk.

Haspel is giving her opening remarks at a hearing before the Senate intelligence committee.

She says that if she’s confirmed, she will follow the clear and legal framework the U.S. has since imposed that bans any corrosive tactic not spelled out in the Army Field Manual.


10:20 a.m.

The woman nominated to be the next CIA director says that when she saw a video of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center in New York, she knew “in my gut” that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden was to blame.

Gina Haspel says she got up from her desk on 9/11 and, like many other CIA officers, walked over to the spy agency’s Counterterrorism Center to volunteer to help. She says she didn’t leave for three years.

She says that after 9/11, man men and women at the CIA worked seven days a week and that some postponed weddings and having babies. She says the first CIA personnel on the ground in Afghanistan were her colleagues.


10:10 a.m.

Former senators Evan Bayh and Saxby Chambliss have introduced CIA nominee Gina Haspel at her confirmation hearing.

Bayh, a Democrat from Indiana, and Chambliss, a Republican from Georgia, served on the Senate intelligence committee during Haspel’s tenure at the CIA.

Chambliss says he traveled overseas extensively during his time on the committee, and never were lawmakers “less than significantly impressed by the leadership” she provided to the CIA.

He says criticism from some of her work at the CIA’s counterterrorism center is “very troubling.” He says responsibility for the center’s work rested with the commander in chief of the United States and senior CIA leaders, “not Gina Haspel.”

Bayh says that for 33 years Haspel has worked to defend America from those who would harm it.


9:55 a.m.

The chairman of a Senate intelligence committee is praising President Donald Trump’s nominee to serve as the next director of the CIA.

GOP Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina is telling Gina Haspel that she is “without a doubt, the most qualified person the president could choose to lead the CIA and the most prepared nominee in the 70-year history of the agency.”

Haspel is facing opposition from some Democrats and many rights groups who are critical of her activities related to the shredding of interrogation videotapes in 2005 and her stint at a covert detention site in Thailand where two detainees were waterboarded, which simulates drowning.

Burr says some may seek to turn her nomination into a trial about a long-shuttered program. But he says Haspel has acted “morally, ethically and legally” over her 30-year career.


9:30 a.m.

Some protesters are being arrested before a confirmation hearing for President Donald Trump’s nominee to serve as director of the CIA.

The protesters began yelling, “stop the torture, stop the torture” and “don’t reward torture.” U.S. Capitol Police quickly removed them from the hearing room where members of the Senate intelligence committee are holding a confirmation hearing for Gina Haspel.

The protesters were among the first to be allowed into the hearing room and wore signs that read “No Torture No Gina” and “Don’t Reward Torturers.”

Haspel is facing opposition from some Democrats and many rights groups who are critical of her activities related to the shredding of interrogation videotapes in 2005 and her stint at a covert detention site in Thailand where two detainees were waterboarded, which simulates drowning.

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