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McCain Urges Senate To Reject Gina Haspel's Nomination


Senior Republican Senator John McCain has urged the Senate to reject Gina Haspel's nomination for CIA Director, citing her refusal in testimony before Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to acknowledge "torture's immorality."

President Donald Trump's nominee to head the CIA had struggled at her confirmation hearing Wednesday to clarify what she would do if the president ordered her to reintroduce the waterboarding of terrorist suspects.

Trump in March had promoted CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel to the top Intelligence post to replace Mike Pompeo, who was to become the new Secretary of State.

If confirmed, 61-year old Gina would become the first female director of the agency, but the historic significance is overshadowed by her alleged link to a black site prison in Thailand where terrorism suspects were tortured.

Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, responded sharply to Gina's stand by saying that in the testimony, she "failed to account for the mistakes the country made in torturing detainees held in US custody after the September 11th attacks".

"Her refusal to acknowledge torture's immorality is disqualifying," according to the Senator from Arizona. He called upon the Senate to "exercise its duty of advice and consent and reject this nomination."

McCain reminded the Upper House that the "so-called enhanced interrogation methods we employ to keep our nation safe must be as right and just as the values we aspire to live up to and promote in the world".

As an undercover officer, Gina Haspel served as CIA station chief in Thailand in 2002. The station was notorious for running one of the "black sites" where suspected al-Qaida extremists were interrogated using techniques, like water-boarding.

However, during the Senate hearing, Gina declined to criticize the agency for its past procedures that included water-boarding, which critics say amounted to torture.

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