Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., said Wednesday she will not vote to confirm CIA Director-nominee Gina Haspel, assailing her refusal to say that torture is morally wrong, as well as her oversight of harsh interrogation techniques in the wake of 9/11.
In an interview on CNN’s “The Lead With Jake Tapper,” Harris said she came to her decision after a tough grilling of the nominee at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing and in a closed-door session.
Harris said she could not talk about what was discussed “in a classified setting,” but declared after the hearing to CNN: “I’ll tell you and the public right now, I intend to vote against her as a nominee.”
“This is a question of whether we’ll have someone who heads up that very important agency who has the ability to make decisions that for the most part will be made in secret and for the most part will be decisions that must be made in the heat of the moment and they will have the center and the ability and the conviction to make the right decision even when no one is watching,” Harris told CNN.
“And for this nominee, we don’t have to speculate about the scenario, we have an example, which is what happened after 9/11. And frankly, on the test of where she would make a decision in terms of whether it is morally right or wrong, she failed.”
During the earlier hearing, Harris drilled down on Haspel, asking her whether enhanced interrogation techniques — which have been criticized as little more than torture — used by the CIA after 9/11 were immoral.
“Senator, what I believe sitting here today is that I support the higher, moral standard we have decided to hold ourselves to . . .” Haspel said before being cut off by Harris, who demanded: “Can you please answer the question?”
“Senator, I think I’ve answered the question,” Haspel replied.
“No, you’ve not,” Harris countered.
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