McCain Blasts CIA Nominee Gina Haspel: Her Refusal To Acknowledge The Immorality Of Torture Is Disqualifying

New York Magazine reports:

After Gina Haspel’s confirmation hearing on Wednesday it appeared likely that she had the votes to become the next CIA director. But that night Senator John McCain released a statement urging his colleagues to reject her nomination, potentially giving wavering senators the cover they need to oppose her.

McCain has been home in Arizona battling brain cancer since the end of last year, and is not expected to return for the vote. His presence might have changed the course of the hearing, as he could have pressed her for answers as a survivor of torture from when he was a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

McCain’s full statement:

“Today, Gina Haspel testified before the Senate and to the country about her qualifications to lead the CIA. This occasion provided an opportunity to provide details about her experience in the CIA, explain her involvement in the so-called enhanced interrogation program during the Bush Administration, and account for the mistakes the country made in torturing detainees held in U.S. custody after the September 11th attacks. Unfortunately, the testimony the American people heard from Ms. Haspel today failed to address these concerns.

“Like many Americans, I understand the urgency that drove the decision to resort to so-called enhanced interrogation methods after our country was attacked. I know that those who used enhanced interrogation methods and those who approved them wanted to protect Americans from harm. I appreciate their dilemma and the strain of their duty. But as I have argued many times, the methods we employ to keep our nation safe must be as right and just as the values we aspire to live up to and promote in the world.

“I believe Gina Haspel is a patriot who loves our country and has devoted her professional life to its service and defense. However, Ms. Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying. I believe the Senate should exercise its duty of advice and consent and reject this nomination.”