Kentucky Senator Rand Paul plans to be a stumbling block on the path to confirmation for current CIA Director Mike Pompeo, as well as Deputy Director Gina Haspel, who President Trump has picked to replace Pompeo as director, once Pompeo moves to his new position as head of the State Department.
Paul, R-Ky., pledged “I’m going to do everything I can to block them,” and was particularly critical of Haspel, who he said showed “joyful glee” when a suspected terrorist was tortured at one of the so-called black sites during the Iraq War. Haspel has served at the CIA for more than three decades and is currently the deputy director. She was in charge of one black site located in Thailand.
Paul said he opposes Pompeo, who is now the CIA director, because he backs “regime change” in Iran and was a supporter of the Iraq War.
Haspel, who joined the CIA in 1985, is both respected and controversial.
In 2002, Haspel oversaw one of the CIA “black sites” in Thailand, where detainees were waterboarded, and forced to undergo other forms of “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
In 2005, Haspel ordered that tapes of those interrogation sessions be destroyed. This was after a request was made by Congress to view the tapes.
Her move was legal, but you can believe it caused some frustration.
Senator Paul has previously voted against the confirmation of Mike Pompeo to lead the CIA. Apparently, Pompeo’s work in his short time as director has not softened Paul’s opinion. Nor has the passage of time made him feel better about Haspel.
“It’s galling to read of her glee during the waterboarding,” Paul said. “It’s absolutely appalling.”
The information about Haspel was revealed during an investigation of the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques during the Bush administration.
A simple majority is needed to pass these two nominees to their new roles, but with only 51 seats in the control of Republicans, neither nominee can afford to give up votes in the senate.
Paul isn’t the only one.
Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain, R-Ariz., has expressed doubts about Haspel’s nomination. However, it’s not clear if McCain will be able to vote as he remains in Arizona getting treatment for a brain tumor.
“It may be enough,” to block her, Paul said. “It depends on the solidarity of the Democrats,”
Pompeo, on the other hand, did receive around a dozen Democrat votes to take over the CIA, so he may not have as hard of a time getting moved forward.