WASHINGTON (CBSNewYork) — President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the CIA says she would not restore an interrogation program at the agency “under any circumstances.”
Gina Haspel appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee Wednesday. She was tapped to lead the organization after Mike Pompeo was promoted to secretary of state.
“I am here because I have been nominated to lead the extraordinary men and women at the Central Intelligence Agency — men and women who are our country’s silent warriors,” Haspel said in her opening statement.
She said she knew that “accepting the president’s nomination would raise questions about CIA classified activities and my career at the agency” and added that over the last few weeks, “we have leaned forward to make more information about my record public.”
Haspel has come under fire for allegedly being involved in CIA interrogation tactics like waterboarding post-9/11, something she addressed with lawmakers.
“I want to be clear: Having served in that tumultuous time, I can offer you my personal commitment clearly and without reservation that under my leadership, on my watch, CIA will not restart a detention and interrogation program,” Haspel said.
She added that she supports “the higher moral standard that this country has decided to hold itself to.”
“I would never, ever take CIA back to an interrogation program,” she said.
Haspel said she “did not run the interrogation department” and said she “was not even read into the interrogation program until it was up and running for a year.”
Haspel needs 51 votes to be confirmed. If she is, Haspel would become the first woman to lead the CIA.