Trump Steps in to Defend His CIA Pick

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It's important to know Ms. Haspel's views on the Bush-era torture program and particularly to hear her side of the story on the destruction of videotapes of waterboarding.

Trump tweeted that Haspel "has come under fire because she was too tough on Terrorists".

The Senate confirmation hearing will not be easy and Ms Haspel has been preparing for it with mock questioning at CIA HQ. Trump argued that Haspel was "too tough on terrorists" for the Democrats.

Haspel, who serves as the CIA's deputy director and has spent 33 years in the agency, most of it undercover, faces some opposition in Congress because of her connection to the interrogation program that was set up after the September 11, 2001, attacks. The criticism has been so severe she reportedly even considered withdrawing her nomination on Friday.

The Washington Post says she was summoned to the White House on Friday by officials anxious about her previous support for the techniques.

The most qualified person for a job is a woman... wait, what?

She has told lawmakers in recent weeks that she would stand firm against any effort to restart the brutal detention and interrogation program, administration officials told The Associated Press on Friday.

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A group of Democrats on the Senate Intelligence Committee, including Sens.

The Post said some advisers had told Mr Trump her confirmation was unlikely.

The CIA responded by saying it would provide classified materials for all senators to review, but also that certain materials related to the interrogation program could not be made public for security reasons.

Terrorist suspects were subjected to techniques such as waterboarding, which simulates drowning.

According to numerous reports, key Al-Qaeda suspects Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri were brutally interrogated, slammed against walls, and repeatedly waterboarded in 2002 in Thailand.

Among those who have already weighed in for the nominee are two past Central Intelligence Agency directors who served under President Barack Obama - Leon Panetta and John Brennan - and Mark Morrell, who served as acting Central Intelligence Agency director under Obama.

The 61-year-old has extensive overseas experience and has served as chief of station on several postings. It states that, "The Director of National Intelligence (or, if delegated by the Director of National Intelligence, the Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence) may, with respect to the Intelligence Community, after consultation with the head of the originating Intelligence Community element or department, declassify, downgrade, or direct the declassification or downgrading of information or intelligence relating to intelligence sources, methods, or activities".

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