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Feinstein says she's 'very wary' of Haspel as CIA director

Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Friday toughened her stance against ...

Posted: Mar 23, 2018 8:01 PM
Updated: Mar 23, 2018 8:01 PM

Sen. Dianne Feinstein on Friday toughened her stance against Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump's pick to be CIA director, saying she was "very wary" of promoting someone to run the agency who was involved in the George W. Bush administration's controversial CIA detention and interrogation program.

"To promote someone so heavily involved in the torture program to the top position at the CIA, the agency responsible for one of the darkest chapters in our history, is a move that I'm very wary of," the California Democrat said in a statement.

The California Democrat's statement Friday struck a markedly different tone than her initial comments praising Haspel, who is currently the deputy CIA director and, if confirmed, would be the first woman to run the agency.

It's a sign that Feinstein, who is facing a challenger from her left in her reelection campaign, looks less likely to back Haspel's confirmation.

Haspel, who has spent 33 years in the CIA, was in charge of a "black site" in Thailand in 2002 during the harsh interrogations of detainees, although she was not in charge when al Qaeda suspect Abu Zubaydah was waterboarded at least 83 times.

RELATED: California Democrats deny Sen. Feinstein an endorsement

Haspel was also chief of staff for Jose Rodriguez, director of the CIA's National Clandestine Service, when he ordered the destruction of recordings of CIA interrogations in 2005.

Those episodes have stirred up opposition to Haspel among some Democrats and at least one Republican, and the Trump administration is gearing up for a bruising confirmation battle.

Sen. John McCain, who was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, sent Haspel a letter Friday demanding she detail her role in detainee interrogations and the destruction of the CIA tapes, as well as asking whether she was ever "in a position of authority to stop, or prevent the future employment of 'enhanced interrogation techniques.'"

McCain is an important voice for Republicans, even with his absence from Washington while he battles cancer, and Feinstein could become a key vote for Democrats.

As chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee from 2009 through 2014, Feinstein spearheaded the panel's scathing 6,700-page report on the Bush-era interrogation program, which concluded that the use of tactics like waterboarding was not effective at obtaining accurate information or gaining cooperation from detainees.

But when Haspel was picked to succeed Mike Pompeo as CIA director earlier this month, Feinstein praised Haspel's record in her year as deputy director and said the two have discussed the issue of torture at length.

"I have spent some time with her," Feinstein said at the time. "We have had dinner together. We have talked. Everything I know is that she has been a good deputy director of the CIA."

Her comments sparked criticism from the left, including from her opponent within her own party Kevin de Le-n.

"This should be an easy call. Not only should she be a NO vote on Trump's CIA pick, she should also be a leading voice rallying all Dems against this nomination," de Le-n tweeted.

The White House has also pointed to Feinstein's remarks, with press secretary Sarah Sanders suggesting during a briefing last week that Feinstein backed Haspel's nomination, though she quickly corrected herself.

Last week, Feinstein sent a letter to the CIA demanding the declassification of Haspel's records. And in her statement Friday, Feinstein specified there was a difference between praising Haspel's record as deputy director and supporting her to run the CIA.

"Her experience may have served her well as deputy, but the top position is another matter entirely," Feinstein said.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

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Confirmed Cases: 27900

Reported Deaths: 1082
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds215239
DeSoto137316
Madison122234
Jones106949
Neshoba96069
Lauderdale88278
Rankin84112
Forrest81442
Scott75015
Harrison7448
Copiah56615
Leake54819
Jackson53316
Holmes52741
Wayne52112
Washington4969
Lee49316
Oktibbeha48624
Yazoo4736
Leflore47249
Lowndes45311
Warren44317
Lincoln43534
Lamar4197
Grenada3805
Monroe36729
Pike36712
Attala35223
Lafayette3524
Newton3289
Sunflower3066
Covington3025
Bolivar27713
Panola2706
Adams26718
Chickasaw25918
Tate2577
Jasper2506
Marion24811
Pontotoc2476
Noxubee2458
Pearl River24432
Winston2435
Clay24210
Claiborne23610
Simpson2303
Smith20611
Clarke20124
Marshall2013
Coahoma1866
Kemper17614
Union1759
Walthall1724
Yalobusha1617
Carroll16011
Lawrence1591
Itawamba1278
Calhoun1244
Humphreys1239
Tippah12311
Webster12310
Montgomery1222
Hancock12013
Jefferson Davis1064
Tallahatchie1043
Prentiss983
Greene927
Jefferson923
Wilkinson919
Tunica893
Amite822
George743
Choctaw714
Quitman680
Tishomingo681
Perry614
Alcorn561
Stone521
Franklin382
Benton270
Sharkey240
Issaquena71
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 38442

Reported Deaths: 947
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4387142
Montgomery383999
Mobile3697134
Tuscaloosa204938
Marshall153710
Lee118937
Shelby108223
Madison10577
Morgan9813
Walker86723
Franklin85213
Dallas8198
Elmore81314
Baldwin6869
Etowah62513
Butler60427
DeKalb6025
Chambers58127
Tallapoosa56369
Autauga54511
Unassigned52025
Russell4840
Lowndes45820
Lauderdale4446
Houston4344
Limestone4090
Cullman4003
Pike3995
Colbert3685
Bullock3629
Coffee3532
Barbour3231
Covington3087
St. Clair3042
Hale29321
Marengo28611
Wilcox2808
Sumter27612
Calhoun2705
Talladega2677
Clarke2665
Escambia2636
Dale2440
Jackson2382
Winston2333
Blount2141
Chilton2112
Pickens2116
Marion20312
Monroe1972
Choctaw19212
Conecuh1804
Bibb1711
Macon1708
Randolph1709
Greene1667
Perry1451
Henry1303
Crenshaw1233
Lawrence1010
Washington1007
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Clay582
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Cleburne291
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