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Haspel, now the acting director of the CIA, told members of the Senate intelligence committee during her confirmation hearing on Wednesday that, if confirmed, she would not restart the interrogation program.

For 33 years with the agency, Haspel has been on the front lines of America's greatest security challenges, rising from station chief, to deputy director of the clandestine service, to deputy director of the agency.

She vowed that she would not start another interrogation programme like the one developed under President George W. Bush.

"Ms. Haspel's role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing". Instead, she defended the torture of terrorism suspects during a fraught time after the September 11 attacks when the agency was focused on preventing more attacks.

What we don't know is if she was involved in sending Maher Arar, a Canadian engineer, to Syria, where he was tortured by Bashar Assad-the same Assad now condemned for gassing his own people; the same Assad the Central Intelligence Agency has been trying to depose for the past six years.

"I think the techniques we used were not torture".

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., said he would support her after a "tough, frank and extensive discussion", with Haspel, making him the second Democrat to back her nomination after West Virginia Sen.


Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., the ranking Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, was eyed as one Democrat who may vote for her, as well as Angus King, I-Maine. "I would absolutely not permit it", she added. Some senators asked about her morals.

Two days after taking office in 2009, Obama issued an executive order prohibiting all government employees from using any interrogation method that wasn't spelled out in the Army Field Manual, a military guide that banned brutal interrogation techniques, such as waterboarding, which simulates drowning. Trump has accused Democrats of wanting her "OUT because she is too tough on terror". Haspel did not answer directly.

Fairly or not, Haspel has to bear the weight of those words as well as her own actions. She controls what of her record can be declassified, and most details released so far have been flattering.

It's unlikely that anyone else Trump would pick would have Haspel's experience, knowledge of the agency and intelligence.

Haspel no doubt fears she would be undercutting some of her colleagues by renouncing what she did.

Unless Haspel takes that step, she will not have demonstrated the most important quality for any official, a strong moral compass.

A senior Democratic source told Fox News this week that it was unclear if the Senate Democratic leadership would whip against Haspel, and that several Democrats may eventually vote for her.


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