Haspel Nearly Walked Away From CIA Director Nomination

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The report notes that White House officials are unsure whether she will formally withdraw, but that President Donald Trump, alerted to her reservations, has urged her to remain as the nominee.

The Washington Post reports Haspel told the White House she wanted to step aside if her Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday was going to damage her or the CIA's reputation, triggering a panicked effort by White House officials to get her to change her mind. She then returned to agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia.

Haspel's supporters argue that while she drafted the cable, Rodriguez sent it without the approval of CIA Director Porter Goss and without informing Haspel that he would do so.

The officials, who are familiar with her meetings on Capitol Hill, were not authorised to discuss her private conversations with the senators and spoke only on condition of anonymity. Some records from the program, the newspaper reported, show that Haspel "was an enthusiastic supporter of what the Central Intelligence Agency was doing".

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) has been among the more vocal critics of Haspel's nomination.

"Acting Director Haspel is a highly qualified nominee who has dedicated over three decades of service to her country", Raj Shah, the White House principal deputy press secretary, said in a statement Sunday.

Haspel's last-minute second-guessing of whether to maintain her bid is indicative of the uphill climb her nomination faces in Congress.

Chris Anders of the American Civil Liberties Union lamented last week: "If confirmed, Gina Haspel would be the first and only person confirmed by the Senate - we believe in its entire history - with a known operational role in using torture".

Senator Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican, additionally expressed reservations concerning Mr. Pompeo, nevertheless he eventually relented, and the Senate confirmed him with a vote of 57 to 42.

"Haspel would have been aware of the deficiencies in the program", he said, given her positions with the CIA's counterterrorism center, or CTC, and field operations from 2001 to 2008.

The release of the disciplinary review may persuade some lawmakers who had been undecided to support Haspel, said congressional officials tracking the nomination process. Jackson, Trump's White House doctor, withdrew his nomination to become Veterans Affairs secretary following questions regarding alleged misconduct earlier in his career.

Only on Saturday afternoon was the White House assured she would not withdraw, the Post quoted the officials as saying.

Sanders, meanwhile, tweeted an endorsement of Haspel on Friday.

Haspel has obtained strong backing from former intelligence, diplomatic, navy and nationwide safety officers, who reward her in depth intelligence profession.