Central Intelligence Agency first woman chief an expert in "enhanced interrogation"

Gina Haspel nominated to be CIA director

Gina Haspel nominated to be CIA director

Haspel is a career intelligence officer who joined the CIA in 1985.

"Director Pompeo explained the CIA's creative, new methods that enabled the interdiction of certain shipments in violations of sanctions on North Korea", it said, citing a speech he gave in January.

Facilities such as Detention Site Green are called "black sites" because their existence is not recognised by the USA government.

He nominated Deputy Director Gina Haspel to head the agency after he tapped current Director Mike Pompeo to head the State Department. But the 61-year-old's appointment as deputy director of the secret service in February 2017 had proved a point of contention. Waterboarding is a process that simulates drowning and is widely considered to be a form of torture. He would face steep legal and legislative hurdles if he tried.

The Republican senator John McCain, who is undergoing treatment for brain cancer and has not voted in months, said on Tuesday: "The torture of detainees in United States custody during the last decade was one of the darkest chapters in American history".

In 2009, days after taking office, Democratic president Barack Obama banned "enhanced interrogation techniques", including waterboarding, and ordered the closure of the secret detention sites. Rodriguez mentioned Haspel in his memoir in 2013, remembering how she had directed agents to use an industrial strength shredder to destroy video evidence of Central Intelligence Agency interrogations at black sites.

But despite a stellar resumé and Senate confirmation previous year to be Director Pompeo's deputy, the left is already upset about her nomination because of one of Haspel's assignments. "Gina is a very competent professional who I think deserves the chance to take the seat", he said. Richard Burr (R-NC), chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee which oversees the CIA, said he is supporting Haspel's nomination and will take steps "ensuring its consideration without delay".

The CIA and other agencies also have struggled to deal with leaks of some of their crucial cyber spying tools and other data, often blamed on the sprawling intelligence contractor industry around Washington on which they increasingly depend. "To allow someone who had a direct hand in this illegal, immoral and counterproductive program is to willingly forget our nation's dark history with torture". But the rights group's allegations against Haspel remain part of a preliminary investigation that German authorities could revive if they receive evidence that any of the parties have links to Germany. However, a federal judge told the lawyers that the documents related to the program and the officials are protected.

"The Senate already rightly denied Deputy Director Haspel a post as head of the clandestine service because of the role she played in the Bush administration's enhanced interrogation programme".

Paul sits on the crucial Senate Foreign Relations Committee, giving him significant leverage over these nominations.