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Trump’s pick CIA director Gina Haspel to explain role in torture program black site prison Thailand

The top U.S. intelligence official says President Donald Trump’s nominee to be CIA director will fully explain her role in the harsh interrogation practices used on terror suspects after 9/11.

Dan Coats told reporters on Wednesday that he’s spent a lot of time learning about deputy CIA director Gina Haspel’s actions in the so-called torture program. 

He says there are many mischaracterizations about her role, which included supervising a black site in Thailand.

He says the intelligence agencies want to declassify as much as possible without jeopardizing sources and methods of intelligence collection, but that every effort will be made to fully explain her activities at the time.

She faces a confirmation hearing and full-Senate vote on her nomination. The vote date has not yet been scheduled. 

Dan Coats

Gina Haspel is set to explain her role in the so-called torture program ahead of the Senate vote on her nomination according to National Intelligence Director Dan Coats 

Trump’s announcement prompted objections over connections Haspel, who oversaw the ‘black site’ prison in Thailand, may have had to the use of waterboarding and other brutal interrogation techniques widely seen as torture for years after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

McCain was tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He is a strong opponent of the use of waterboarding, sleep deprivation and other so-called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques.’

‘We now know that these techniques not only failed to deliver actionable intelligence but actually produced false and misleading information,’ McCain said in a letter to Haspel. ‘Most importantly, the use of torture compromised our values, stained our national honor, and threatened our historical reputation.’

He asked for an account of Haspel’s role in the detention and interrogation program, including whether she directed ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ or could have stopped them, and if she was directed to destroy tapes or other potential evidence of the use of ‘enhanced interrogation techniques.’

Haspel helped draft a cable ordering the destruction of such a videotape, although her backers said another official sent it without consulting her.

Haspel could have trouble winning a majority vote in the 100-member Senate to be confirmed. Trump’s Republicans hold 51 seats and one Republican, Rand Paul, has already announced that he will not support her nomination.

Trump's top pick for CIA Director will disclose information about her involvement in the so-called torture program post 9/11

Trump’s top pick for CIA Director will disclose information about her involvement in the so-called torture program post 9/11

McCain, who is being treated for cancer in Arizona, has not been in Washington to vote this year.

Even if he cannot vote, opposition from McCain, a respected former presidential nominee and chairman of the Armed Services Committee, could help solidify opposition to Haspel.

Senator Dianne Feinstein, who led the Intelligence Committee’s 2014 report on rough interrogation methods and co-sponsored an anti-torture law with McCain, demanded the release of classified CIA documents related to the practice.