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Gina Haspel, nominee to head CIA, sought to withdraw over questions about her role in agency interrogation program

Haspel is slated to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee next week where she is likely to face increasing questions over her role in the CIA's enhanced interrogation program in the mid-2000s.

White House aides including legislative affairs liaison Marc Short and spokeswoman Sarah Sanders then rushed to Langley for discussions on Friday that lasted several hours but did not secure a commitment from her to stick with the nomination, the paper said.

Trump learned of the drama Friday, calling officials from his trip to Dallas.

Raj Shah, a White House spokesman, called Haspel a highly qualified nominee.

George W Bush authorized the rendition, detention and interrogation program after the attacks of 11 September 2001.

The officials said that Haspel didn't learn sensitive details about the CIA's counterterrorism activities until October 2002, which would have been after the agency's first high-value detainee, Abu Zubaydah, was waterboarded 83 times in August 2002. But her past role in the CIA's use of brutal interrogation measures on terrorism suspects has generated bipartisan criticism on Capitol Hill, where she is scheduled to answer questions during a confirmation hearing next week. "The Senate and the public need to know what kind of person is making those assurances, or else they're just words". There is a reason for that.

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An administration official told the Post that Haspel's nomination will continue as planned. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to vote against her. Shakir said other senators might be targeted before the Senate votes.

Bash told viewers at he had just got off the phone with Haspel and that she was "full steam ahead" and will be at her confirmation hearing Wednesday morning. Now that she is in a leadership position, she wants to make sure she never puts her Central Intelligence Agency colleagues in a position again of taking on something so controversial and fraught with danger, they said. For one, it appears that Haspel was an "enthusiastic supporter" of the controversial waterboarding program, which casts her in a negative light.

With McCain's absence, Republicans have a 50-49 margin in the Senate. John McCain, R-Ariz., who is undergoing treatment for a rare form of brain cancer.

Hoping to sway senators his way, Trump tweeted on Wednesday: "Gina Haspel has displayed dedication and leadership throughout her more than three decades of service with the CIA and is the right person to lead the Agency". The nomination has sparked trepidation inside the White House, with some Trump advisers telling the president in recent weeks she was unlikely to be confirmed.

Also backing Haspel's nomination recently was former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, during an appearance last week on "Fox and Friends".

Meanwhile, the pieces of information that are known about Haspel are disturbing to those who oppose torture.

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