Maine's two USA senators say they have plenty of questions for Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the Central Intelligence Agency. "It's fantastic to watch the media disparage and attack women of real substance while they laud a woman who spends most of her time hanging off a pole half or completely naked".
Both senators say they want to learn more about Haspel's 33-year career working mostly undercover at the Central Intelligence Agency.
Robert Ford, a former USA ambassador to Syria, said confirming Haspel could undercut US efforts to promote human rights because she'll always be identified with the enhanced interrogation program. Trump's controversial pick for CIA chief is preparing to be grilled by the Senate - Gina Haspel is implicated in the Agency's notorious torture programs.
After meeting with Haspel for about 45 minutes, Manchin said he's "very open-minded" about her nomination and has a "curiosity" to hear what his other colleagues have to say and how she responds to questions during a confirmation hearing slated for Wednesday. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations. But, he said, on Monday the agency had delivered a set of classified documents to the Senate that describe her 33-year career "including her time in C.I.A.'s Counterterrorism Center in the years after 9/11".
John Brennan, CIA chief under the Obama administration, used Twitter to appeal for her confirmation by sceptical Democrats.
She has told lawmakers in recent weeks that she would stand firm against any effort to restart the detention and interrogation program, administration officials told The Associated Press on Friday.
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Lawmakers had complained that despite repeated requests the CIA has failed to declassify information about her more than 30-year undercover career at the agency.
Trump nominated Haspel, who would be the first woman to lead the intelligence agency, to succeed Mike Pompeo, who has become secretary of state. Were the Senate to reject her, the nominee's former colleague said, "it would send a really chilling, devastating message". No Democrats have said they intend to vote for Haspel.
Raj Shah, a White House spokesman, on Sunday called Haspel a highly qualified nominee. "Any Democrat who claims to support women's empowerment and our national security but opposes her nomination is a total hypocrite".
Haspel, one official said, was wary of suffering the same fate as failed veterans affairs nominee Ronny Jackson and of dredging up the CIA's troubled past.
"The decision to destroy the tapes by Rodriguez and the creation of that cable by Gina Haspel and her advocacy of the destruction of the tapes" led to the eventual 7,000-page report, Jones said on a call with reporters last week.