McCain Opposes Haspel’s Confirmation

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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Republican Arizona Sen. John McCain doesn’t believe Gina Haspel, President Trump’s pick to head the Central Intelligence Agency, should be confirmed by the Senate.

McCain’s office released a statement on Wednesday calling Haspel “a patriot” — but also said that the Senate should vote against her confirmation because of her connection to enhanced interrogation techniques employed in the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

McCain argued that Haspel had failed during a lengthy confirmation hearing to address concerns related to enhanced interrogation.

“Like many Americans, I understand the urgency that drove the decision to resort to so-called enhanced interrogation methods after our country was attacked. I know that those who used enhanced interrogation methods and those who approved them wanted to protect Americans from harm. I appreciate their dilemma and the strain of their duty. But as I have argued many times, the 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.”

Haspel faced tough questions about her role in supervising enhanced interrogations during her hearing, and faces vocal opposition from a number of prominent Democrats.

However, a few Democrats — such as Sen. Joe Manchin — may be willing to reach across the aisle for her confirmation.

McCain, who is at home in Arizona recovering from surgery and treatment for cancer, will not be casting a vote on Haspel. He did, however, vote to confirm previous CIA directors Mike Pompeo, John Brennan, David Petraeus, and Michael Hayden.