Yesterday the Senate confirmed President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, Gina Haspel, by a vote of 54 to 45.
Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake, as well as Kentucky Senator Rand Paul, broke with their party in opposing Haspel. McCain was not in Washington to cast his vote.
Both of Arizona’s Senators pointed to Haspel’s involvement in the CIA’s torture program as the primary reason for their opposition.
“I will vote ‘no’ on the Gina Haspel nomination,” said Senator Flake in a press release. “While I thank Ms. Haspel for her long and dedicated service to the CIA, as a country we need to turn the page on the unfortunate chapter in the agency’s history having to do with torture. Congress needs to be able to provide fully informed oversight. My questions about Ms. Hapel’s role in the destruction of videotapes relevant to discussions occurring in Congress regarding the program have not been adequately answered.”
Senator McCain agreed that Haspel was highly qualified for the position but nevertheless opposed her nomination to lead the CIA.
“I believe Gina Haspel is a patriot who loves our country and has devoted her professional life to its service and defense,” said Senator McCain in a statement. “However, Ms. Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying. I believe the Senate should exercise its duty of advice and consent and reject this nomination.”
McCain has been a staunch opponent of the government’s use of torture during the war on terror following the September 11 terrorist attacks.