Donnelly Becomes Second Democrat to Support Gina Haspel to Lead the Central Intelligence Agency

Gina Haspel at her confirmation hearing where she refused to denounce torture as immoral

Gina Haspel at her confirmation hearing where she refused to denounce torture as immoralCHIP SOMODEVILLA GETTY IMAGES

A second Democrat on Saturday said he would vote to confirm Gina Haspel, President Trump's nominee for CIA director, moving the agency veteran a significant step closer to confirmation.

In her answers to more than 100 questions submitted by committee members, Haspel said: "I realize that there are strong disagreements on the effectiveness of the CIA's detention and interrogation program". So far, the only Republicans who have announced opposition to Haspel are Sens. "No legitimate reason was given, but one could conclude it's because Trump nominated her. Morning Joe host Joe Scarborough asked if yesterday's hearing was just a sideshow for the Democratic base because no one could be that stupid and not know what Haspel was going to respond concerning our waterboarding program".

Opponents of Haspel's confirmation also cited an order given in her name directing Central Intelligence Agency agents to destroy tapes of interrogation sessions at so-called "black sites", secretive prisons for terror suspects.

Haspel has been a controversial choice to lead the agency because of her involvement in the George W. Bush administration's interrogation program after the September 11 terrorist attacks.

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"Ms. Haspel's role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture's immorality is disqualifying". Haspel was born in Ashland to two parents who also hail from Kentucky. Donnelly and Manchin are up for re-election in November, and Trump appeared at a political rally Thursday in IN, in which he singled out Donnelly and called on voters to support the Republican nominee, Mike Braun.

But she would not say that torture is immoral.

"I've always shared McCain's views on torture and looked up to him on this", Flake told reporters this week.

During her confirmation hearing, Haspel pledged to abide by the current law that forbids those methods and that she would reject an order from Trump to use those techniques against a terrorist now.

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We are constrained in assessing Haspel because much about her record is not public. Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia - who also is up for reelection in a state that went for Trump - announced earlier this week that he would support Haspel's nomination.

The panel is expected to send the nomination on to the full Senate in coming weeks where confirmation will be tight.

She warned that confirming Haspel would send a message to allies that the USA approves of what happened after 9-11.

Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., is the only other Republican who is publicly considering opposing Haspel - in part because of his respect for McCain, a prisoner of war during the Vietnam conflict.

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Other Democrats are weighing their votes.

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