Trump backs Central Intelligence Agency nominee Haspel: She's 'tough on terrorists'

CIA Director-nominee Gina Haspel attends the ceremonial swearing in for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department in Washington

CIA Director-nominee Gina Haspel attends the ceremonial swearing in for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department in Washington

"My highly respected nominee for CIA Director, Gina Haspel, has come under fire because she was too tough on Terrorists", the president wrote on Twitter. "Think of that, in these very risky times, we have the most qualified person, a woman, who Democrats want OUT because she is too tough on terror". Rights groups and retired military personnel have all decried her nomination.

Despite opposition from the Senate, the intelligence community largely rallied alongside Haspel.

The post became vacant after Mike Pompeo was appointed secretary of state last month.

"Any Democrat who claims to support women's empowerment and our national security but opposes her nomination is a total hypocrite", Sanders said.

The president offered his strong support for Ms Haspel in a tweet on Monday, ending it with: "Win Gina!"

The Washington Post first reported Haspel's offer to withdraw.

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On the actual day, Markle will be accompanied by her mother Doria Ragland when she travels by auto to Windsor Castle . There will not be a rehearsal dinner - more of an American tradition - but there will be rehearsals of the ceremony.

Meanwhile, the CIA has handed Congress a tranche of classified documents related to Gina Haspel's undercover career amid mounting questions over the role she played in some of the agency's most controversial interrogation policies of the post-9/11 era.

Haspel's work also has been praised by members of the Obama administration - like former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan, and former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morrell. "Yes, I do", he said, while adding that Defense Secretary James Mattis had advised him against allowing use of the technique.

Haspel's confirmation hearing is scheduled on Wednesday with the Senate Intelligence Committee. "There is a reason for that", Central Intelligence Agency spokesman Dean Boyd told Fox News. (A recently declassified C.I.A. review found that Haspel was not at fault for the tapes' destruction, as it was the decision of her boss at the time.) "To promote someone so heavily involved in the torture program to the top position at the C.I.A.is a move that I'm very wary of", said California Senator Dianne Feinstein.

Two sources said Haspel participated in a practice session Friday - called a "murder board" - to prepare for the hearing, a sign the nomination was moving forward. Specifically, it states that, "In no case shall information be classified, continue to be maintained as classified, or fail to be declassified in order to: (1) hide violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error; (2) prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency..."

"Haspel was not the architect of the CIA's enhanced interrogations". After initially signaling he would support whatever decision was taken, Trump chose to push for Haspel to remain the nominee, according to the newspaper.

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