Six Senate Democrats Helped Republicans Confirm Torturer Gina Haspel

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Neither strong opposition, protest, nor her history of torture deterred six Democrats from helping the Republicans confirm CIA veteran Gina Haspel.

Gina Haspel being sworn in to testify at her confirmation hearing.

Despite strong opposition and protest, CIA veteran Gina Haspel has been approved by the senate as the agency’s new director. Dishearteningly, six Democrats voted in favor of her confirmation.

Haspel has faced public scrutiny as she is held accountable for supervising the torture of a War on Terror detainee and helping order the destruction of the video evidence of the torture. Needless to say, many people did not want her back anywhere near the CIA, including Arizona Sen. and former presidential candidate John McCain.

This, however, did not deter the handful of Democrats from voting to confirm her.

The list includes:

  • Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly
    Close-up of Sen. Joe Donnelly
     
  • North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp
    Close-up of Sen. Heidi Heitkamp laughing
     
  • West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin
    Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) talking to reporters
     
  • Florida Sen. Bill Nelson
    Close-up of Sen. Bill Nelson speaking into a microphone.
     
  • New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen
    Close-up of Sen.Jeanne Shaheen.
     
  • Virginia Sen. Mark Warner
    Close-up of Sen. Mark Warner speaking during a hearing.

"I acknowledge that this has been a difficult decision," Warner said in a statement earlier this week announcing his support for Haspel. "I have been frank with Ms. Haspel that I wish she had been more open with the American public during this process."

He added: "However, in both our one-on-one meetings and in classified session before the Committee, I found Acting Director Haspel to be more forthcoming regarding her views on the interrogation program."

While Warner claimed that he believes Haspel “can and will stand up to the President if ordered to do something illegal or immoral — like a return to torture,” ABC News pointed out that some of the Democrats who stood behind Haspel’s confirmation may have had ulterior motives as most of them are up for re-election in states where President Donald Trump won in the 2016 presidential election.

By supporting Haspel, they may be trying to appease pro-Trump voters as well as avoid ending up on the president's bad side.

Another likely possibility noted by The Washington Post is that former CIA directors John Brennan and Leon Panetta persuaded the Dems in one way or another to get on board with Haspel. The publication reports that at least five of the six Democrats who voted for her were contacted by the former directors.

Perhaps the Democrats who supported Haspel actually considered their votes to be progressive considering her confirmation makes her the first woman in history to lead the CIA. However, her track record indicates that this particular glass ceiling should have broken by someone else. 

Alas, whatever their motives were, this controversial decision is sure to turn around and bite them in the backside as Haspel has already proven that she is not opposed using lies and deceit to cover up her wrongdoing, and she will likely be better at it this time around. 

 Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Reuters, JOSHUA ROBERTS

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