On Friday, Democratic Senator Tim Kaine announced that he will oppose acting CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel’s nomination to lead the agency.
Kaine’s reasoning behind his decision is Haspel’s involvement in the agency’s “enhanced interrogation” program, according to The Hill.
“I believe her role in the Agency’s use of torture and efforts to destroy evidence of it was neither minor nor incidental,” Kaine said.
“In particular, I was especially disturbed that she personally wrote a cable ordering the destruction of videotape evidence of the Agency’s use of torture,” he added.
Haspel’s nomination has recently come under fire, as the acting director has ties to “enhanced interrogation” techniques that were used in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on 9/11.
According to The New York Times, Haspel ran a secret detention center in 2002 in Thailand — code-named “Cat’s Eye” — that had been widely known for its torturous ways, including waterboarding, which allegedly occurred on her watch.
The statement from Kaine came shortly after Haspel’s testimony on Wednesday, where she was questioned by the Senate Intelligence Committee on her views of torture and what she had to say about the destruction of the tapes.
Kaine also pointed to Arizona Sen. John McCain, stating that he echoed his colleagues “disappointment in Gina Haspel’s failure to condemn (torture) as immoral during her hearing.
“I believe the CIA needs leadership that not only honors the rule of law but meets a higher calling to the moral principles of our nation,” Kaine said.
McCain, who had been captured and beaten during the Vietnam War, has urged his fellow lawmakers to reject Haspel as an option for the role.
McCain stated that, though he believes Haspel to be a patriot and one who loves America, her overall “refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying.”
Sen. Rand Paul agreed, stating that he would vote against the acting director for the reason that he does not want to “reward somebody who participated in torture.”
Haspel herself faces a narrow path for securing the vote to become the leader of the agency, as she will need more Democratic senators to support her as more Republicans — such as Paul — vote against her.
In the Senate, Republicans hold a 51-seat majority and very few Democrats, such as West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, said that they will be voting for Haspel.
Independent Sen. Angus King, who is a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, stated that he would not be voting for the acting director any time soon.
“I found some of her responses to be narrowly crafted and evasive,” King said.
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