Democrats grill CIA nominee

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May 9, 2018 - 11:00 PM

Acting Director of the Central Intelligence Agency Gina Haspel sits down after being sworn-in to testify during her confirmation hearing before the United States Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., Wednesday. POOL VIA CNP/SI

WASHINGTON — In a contentious confirmation hearing that reopened the painful debate over CIA abuse of terrorism suspects, Gina Haspel pledged Wednesday she would not revive the use of secret prisons and harsh interrogations if she is confirmed to lead the nation’s premier intelligence agency.

The Senate Intelligence Committee hearing served as an uncomfortable public debut for Haspel, a veteran but controversial CIA officer who spent nearly all of her 33-year career recruiting and managing spies as an undercover operative in Africa, Europe and Central Asia as well as at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va.

She came under fire from Democrats and some Republicans clearly nervous about whether endorsing Haspel would amount to whitewashing what the CIA called enhanced interrogation tactics, and what critics called torture, after the Sept. 11 attacks. The practices are now banned.

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