- Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s nominee for CIA director, reportedly wanted to withdraw her nomination over fears her past involvement in controversial CIA programs could hinder the confirmation process.
- Haspel said she didn’t want to be the “next Ronny Jackson”, the Washington Post reported on Sunday.
- White House officials apparently rushed to support Haspel Friday and secure her as a nominee ahead of Wednesday’s Senate hearing.
Trump’s nominee for CIA director wanted to withdraw her bid over fears her past involvement in controversial terror suspect interrogation programs would prevent her confirmation by the Senate, according to a Sunday report from the Washington Post.
According to four senior officials who talked to the Post, Haspel said she didn’t want to be the “next Ronny Jackson”, Trump’s embattled Veterans Affairs secretary nominee who withdrew after his past alleged misconduct as White House doctor surfaced during the confirmation process.
Haspel, an intelligence officer more than 30 years of experience, is best known for heading a program that established a secret prison in Thailand after the 9/11 attacks where CIA officers tortured suspected Al Qaeda operators.
In a meeting with White House officials on Friday, Haspel reportedly said she would give up the bid if it would avoid a damaging Senate hearing on Wednesday morning.
Senor White House aides then reportedly rushed to meet Haspel at CIA headquarters for several hours before securing her intention to continue in the process on Saturday. Trump learned of Haspel’s doubts and pushed for officials to convince her to keep the nomination, according to the Post.
Among the officials present on Trump’s behalf were legislative affairs director Marc Short and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who tweeted Saturday in support of Haspel’s nomination and railed against Democrats who might challenge her confirmation.
There is no one more qualified to be the first woman to lead the CIA than 30+ year CIA veteran Gina Haspel. Any Democrat who claims to support women’s empowerment and our national security but opposes her nomination is a total hypocrite
— Sarah Sanders (@PressSec) May 5, 2018
Haspel’s confirmation is expected to be tenuous, with many Democrats voicing their opposition to her . Since the Republicans only have a 51-49 hold on the Senate, her confirmation could go down to the wire.
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