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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

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 293542

Reported Deaths: 6638
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto19601229
Hinds18712386
Harrison16569277
Rankin12637263
Jackson12483219
Lee9671160
Madison9420196
Jones7914146
Forrest7159136
Lauderdale6798226
Lowndes6014137
Lamar585880
Lafayette5716113
Washington5182129
Bolivar4599121
Oktibbeha440391
Panola428392
Pearl River4138128
Warren4122113
Pontotoc408068
Marshall400392
Monroe3981126
Union393673
Neshoba3777167
Lincoln3491100
Hancock341674
Leflore3363118
Sunflower317385
Tate301574
Pike299193
Scott292868
Alcorn290760
Itawamba289072
Yazoo284962
Coahoma276367
Tippah276165
Copiah276057
Simpson272778
Prentiss268858
Leake252171
Marion251578
Wayne251541
Covington248278
Grenada246277
Adams233377
George231145
Newton226352
Winston221375
Jasper212744
Tishomingo211965
Attala206369
Chickasaw200851
Holmes181770
Clay178250
Stone171829
Tallahatchie170039
Clarke168971
Calhoun157128
Smith152431
Yalobusha143536
Greene127233
Walthall123640
Noxubee122829
Perry121434
Montgomery121338
Lawrence119521
Carroll117923
Amite110932
Webster110030
Jefferson Davis101231
Tunica98823
Claiborne97929
Benton93324
Humphreys92427
Kemper89623
Quitman77114
Franklin75619
Choctaw69516
Wilkinson62226
Jefferson61927
Sharkey48817
Issaquena1676
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 491849

Reported Deaths: 9869
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson707641366
Mobile35937724
Madison32307450
Tuscaloosa24024410
Montgomery22502499
Shelby21848214
Baldwin19698277
Lee14926151
Morgan13624251
Calhoun13202285
Etowah13154319
Marshall11243208
Houston10058259
Limestone9348134
Elmore9345182
Cullman8879179
St. Clair8799221
Lauderdale8588210
DeKalb8436174
Talladega7500163
Walker6509251
Jackson6483102
Autauga622890
Blount6084125
Colbert6004118
Coffee5235102
Dale4627106
Russell402930
Franklin398876
Covington3949106
Chilton386298
Escambia377472
Tallapoosa3572141
Clarke343149
Chambers3399108
Dallas3397141
Pike292972
Lawrence282284
Marion281295
Winston246266
Bibb244560
Geneva238870
Marengo233755
Pickens223954
Barbour210651
Hale209068
Fayette199956
Butler195265
Henry182041
Cherokee176438
Monroe166038
Randolph163140
Washington156334
Crenshaw144054
Clay143454
Macon141643
Cleburne137139
Lamar132432
Lowndes130749
Wilcox121425
Bullock116336
Conecuh106523
Perry105427
Sumter98331
Coosa88623
Greene87132
Choctaw54923
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