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Top Democrat on Senate intel' panel backs Trump CIA pick


REUTERS
WASHINGTON
The top Democrat on the US Senate Intelligence Committee said on Tuesday he would support President Donald Trump's nominee to be CIA director, Gina Haspel, all but ensuring her confirmation as the first woman to lead the spy agency.
Senator Mark Warner said it had been a"difficult decision," but cited Haspel's 33-year career at the CIA and support from its workforce and past intelligence community leaders.
"Most importantly, I believe she is someone who can and will stand up to the President if ordered to do something illegal or immoral - like a return to torture," Warner said in a statement.
In a letter to Warner dated Monday, Haspel said the CIA should not have undertaken a past harsh interrogation programme, which has been a focus of debate over her confirmation.
The Senate Intelligence Committee is due to vote on Wednesday on whether to approve Haspel. With Warner's support, she is expected to have the backing of all eight committee Republicans and at least two of the seven Democrats.
Despite criticism of her nomination - including from Republican Senators Rand Paul and John McCain - because of her past ties to the CIA's former rendition, detention and interrogation activities, Haspel is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate as soon as next week.

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