'Disturbing' and 'Disqualifying': John McCain's Denunciation of Trump's CIA Pick Gina Haspel Is Absolutely Devastating

Though he is not expected to be present for the confirmation vote, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) made it clear that he would vote against the nominee for the CIA directorship Gina Haspel, were he able.


McCain has been absent from the Senate floor as he continues to struggle with brain cancer. But he evidently paid attention to Haspel's confirmation hearing Wednesday — and he was not convinced she should get the job. 

The hearing "provided an opportunity to provide details about her experience in the CIA, explain her involvement in the so-called enhanced interrogation program during the Bush Administration, and account for the mistakes the country made in torturing detainees held in U.S. custody after the September 11th attacks," the senator said in a statement. "Unfortunately, the testimony the American people heard from Ms. Haspel today failed to address these concerns."

McCain, a survivor of torture himself when he was a prison of the Vietnam War, has been more vocal in his criticism of the American use of torture than most members of his party. In opposing Haspel's nomination, McCain is joined by fellow Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky. 

However, with the vote of Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV), Haspel is expected to garner the necessary 50 Senate votes — and Vice President Mike Pence's tie-breaking vote — necessary to be appointed.

McCain's statement was not wholly critical of Haspel. 

"I know that those who used enhanced interrogation methods and those who approved them wanted to protect Americans from harm. I appreciate their dilemma and the strain of their duty," he said. "But as I have argued many times, the methods we employ to keep our nation safe must be as right and just as the values we aspire to live up to and promote in the world."

He continued: "Ms. Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying."

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