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Shaheen, Hassan At Odds Over CIA Director Nominee

Allegra Boverman for NHPR
Senators Maggie Hassan (left) and Jeanne Shaheen at an NHPR forum in January 2018

New Hampshire’s two U.S. Senators are split on an upcoming confirmation vote for Gina Haspel to lead the CIA.

Democrat Jeanne Shaheen says while she believes the use of torture is inconsistent with the nation’s values, she will vote for Haspel, citing her extensive experience within the CIA.

“Over the last few weeks, I’ve reviewed the relevant classified information regarding Gina Haspel’s career at the CIA and have spoken with previous directors of the agency and other colleagues,” says Shaheen. “I have been impressed by the strong support for her nomination within the agency and the respect she has earned from her many years of service.”

In a rare split, fellow Democrat Maggie Hassan announced Thursday that she won’t support the nomination given Haspel’s role in in the use of enhanced interrogation techniques on terrorism suspects in the wake of the September 11th attacks.

“I am deeply grateful to Gina Haspel for her service to our country, the sacrifices she has made to keep us safe, and her dedication to her colleagues at the CIA,” said Hassan. “But after meeting with her this week and reviewing her testimony as well as classified documents related to her tenure at the CIA, I agree with my colleague Senator John McCain that her record and her perspective on torture are disqualifying.”

McCain released a statement earlier this month stating that he opposed Haspel’s nomination, calling her role in overseeing the use of torture “disturbing.”

On Wednesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted 10-5 in support of Haspel’s nomination.

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