Haspel says CIA should not have conducted enhanced interrogation
WASHINGTON, May 15 (Xinhua) -- Gina Haspel, U.S. President Donald Trump's pick to be the next CIA director, said the agency should not have conducted a harsh interrogation and detention program, according to her letter to a Democratic senator.
In a letter dated May 14 to Virginia Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Haspel wrote that the interrogation program "is not one the CIA should have undertaken."
"While I won't condemn those that made these hard calls, and I have noted the valuable intelligence collected, the program ultimately did damage to our officers and our standing in the world," she added.
Her nomination has come under fire for her past ties to the CIA's former rendition, detention and interrogation activities, carried out in the years following the Sept. 11 attacks, with the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding, now widely considered torture.
In 2002, Haspel supervised a secret prison in Thailand where harsh interrogations were conducted and she destroyed CIA interrogation tapes years later. Her specific role in the program remains classified.
The letter represented a stronger stance on the controversial program than Haspel took during her confirmation hearing last week.
Haspel, an undercover officer for most of her 33-year career with the CIA, promised then that the program would not be restarted under her leadership but did not go as far as saying it should not have been started.
Haspel became acting CIA director following her predecessor Mike Pompeo's resignation to become U.S. secretary of state and was nominated by Trump to become the permanent director in March.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled to vote on Haspel's nomination Wednesday morning, a test she is expected to pass with the support of all eight committee Republicans and at least one of its seven Democrats.
That would pave the way for a full Senate vote for her nomination as early as next week.