White House aides on Friday sought out additional details about Haspel's involvement in the CIA's now-defunct program of detaining and brutally interrogating terror suspects after 9/11 as they prepared her for Wednesday's confirmation hearing.
Ever since President Trump announced Haspel as his nominee, critics have pointed out her connections to an interrogation program.
She told the White House she would step aside to avoid a brutal Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing on Wednesday that might damage the CIA, the officials told the Post. For one, it appears that Haspel was an "enthusiastic supporter" of the controversial waterboarding program, which casts her in a negative light. But others have disputed any characterization of Haspel as some kind of cheerleader of the harsh treatment of detainees and noted that the program was authorized by the president, deemed legal by administration lawyers and briefed to members of Congress.
"Acting Director Haspel is a highly qualified nominee who has dedicated over three decades of service to her country", White House spokesman Raj Shah said in response to a request for White House comment.
Haspel's chances of winning Senate confirmation are considered uncertain, in part because of the 51-49 party split and the prolonged absence of Sen.
In addition, the Central Intelligence Agency has sent materials to the Senate, some classified, that the lawmakers can read to better understand not only her work in the Counterterrorism Center, which oversaw the harsh interrogation program, but also other aspects of her 33-year career, including more than 30 years undercover. Haspel drafted a cable approving the destruction that her boss ultimately sent to field officers, who fed the tapes into a shredding machine. As of Saturday, Haspel has made a decision to stick with her nomination.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders tried to guilt feminist Democrats into backing CIA deputy director Gina Haspel to head the agency - despite accusations of past support for waterboarding - because she's a woman.
Haspel's troubles come on the heels of Trump's Veterans Affairs debacle.
Since May 3, the White House has been releasing many positive testimonials of Haspel, according to CBS News. That's according to two senior administration officials.