President Trump’s controversial pick to lead the CIA will fully explain her role in the agency’s use of harsh torture on terror suspects after 9/11, Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Wednesday.
Gina Haspel’s past, including her oversight of a CIA “blacksite” in Thailand and her handling of the destruction of videotapes depicting torture, has raised concerns among lawmakers and advocates.
Haspel, who currently serves as the spy agency’s deputy director, is expected to face tough questions about her background and the CIA’s interrogation program.
Trump chose her to replace Mike Pompeo, who is set to take over the State Department following Rex Tillerson’s exit.
Several details about the 61-year-old’s time in charge of a secret prison in Thailand where terror suspects were waterboarded were leaked soon after the announcement of her nomination.
Haspel has also taken heat for drafting a memo that called for the destruction of 92 videotapes of interrogation sessions. A Justice Department investigation into the destruction of the tapes ended without charges.
“Gina plans to be totally transparent in regards to this issue,” Coats told reporters at a breakfast briefing. “I have looked deeply into this and she will be making that fully available to the relevant (congressional) committees.”
He added that some reports about Haspel's work have been inaccurate.
“What is being alleged is simply not true,” said Coats, who described Haspel as an “exceptional, professional and talented individual.”
“We want to declassify as much as possible without jeopardizing someone’s sources and methods,” Coats said. “Every effort will be made to fully explain exactly what her role was and what it wasn’t.”
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