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

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 350070

Reported Deaths: 7590
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds24512449
DeSoto23513283
Harrison21172335
Rankin15798293
Jackson15735254
Madison11171227
Lee10903180
Jones9223169
Forrest9027163
Lauderdale8087244
Lamar724890
Lowndes7199152
Lafayette6631125
Washington5661140
Pearl River5357154
Oktibbeha503198
Bolivar5004134
Warren4817128
Panola4812112
Marshall4739106
Pontotoc452473
Hancock440388
Neshoba4401181
Union438979
Monroe4369138
Lincoln4228116
Pike3739114
Leflore3676125
Alcorn355374
Tate354988
Sunflower351094
Adams347490
Scott346677
Yazoo342977
Copiah330869
Simpson327191
Itawamba317281
Coahoma315685
Tippah312869
Prentiss302563
Covington302384
Marion289882
Leake288676
Wayne280945
George277351
Grenada272188
Newton266864
Tishomingo240770
Winston238084
Stone235338
Jasper234748
Attala228674
Chickasaw221460
Holmes202574
Clay201954
Clarke189580
Tallahatchie185642
Calhoun183232
Smith183036
Yalobusha173641
Walthall150449
Lawrence145426
Greene141935
Amite139144
Noxubee137235
Perry136138
Montgomery133944
Carroll127031
Webster124332
Jefferson Davis119834
Tunica116127
Benton107825
Claiborne105931
Kemper104429
Humphreys102333
Franklin88424
Quitman86319
Choctaw83119
Wilkinson79332
Jefferson72228
Sharkey51918
Issaquena1746
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 592417

Reported Deaths: 11542
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson861091591
Mobile49771865
Madison37714533
Shelby27501259
Tuscaloosa27344465
Montgomery26343628
Baldwin25860329
Lee17336181
Calhoun15498334
Morgan15225291
Etowah15060370
Marshall13198236
Houston12191293
Elmore10977219
St. Clair10852252
Limestone10816158
Cullman10610206
Lauderdale10305254
DeKalb9594192
Talladega9005188
Walker7840288
Autauga7615114
Jackson7431117
Blount7417139
Colbert6752142
Coffee6443132
Dale5723117
Russell482243
Chilton4810117
Covington4804125
Franklin462781
Tallapoosa4571156
Escambia451083
Chambers3987125
Dallas3751163
Clarke372263
Marion3470107
Pike334079
Lawrence3277100
Winston300773
Bibb292865
Geneva288383
Marengo262967
Barbour253761
Pickens247762
Butler242472
Hale236778
Fayette228165
Henry216545
Monroe204541
Randolph202844
Cherokee200748
Washington186839
Macon171552
Crenshaw170658
Clay167159
Cleburne161845
Lamar151938
Lowndes146255
Wilcox132331
Bullock126542
Conecuh122132
Coosa119529
Perry111228
Sumter110633
Greene99337
Choctaw64425
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