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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Trump's CIA pick implicated in torture scandal 

Senators demand more information on her time overseeing CIA prison

This March 21, 2017, photo provided by the CIA, shows CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel. Haspel, who joined the CIA in 1985, has been chief of station at CIA outposts abroad. President Donald Trump tweeted March 13, 2018, that he would nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to be the new secretary of state and that he would nominate  Haspel to replace him. She has extensive overseas experience, including several stints as chief of station at outposts abroad.(CIA via AP)
This March 21, 2017, photo provided by the CIA, shows CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel. Haspel, who joined the CIA in 1985, has been chief of station at CIA outposts abroad. President Donald Trump tweeted March 13, 2018, that he would nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to be the new secretary of state and that he would nominate Haspel to replace him. She has extensive overseas experience, including several stints as chief of station at outposts abroad.(CIA via AP)

Donald Trump’s pick to head the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) faces an uphill battle to get Senate confirmation, with many questioning her role in the agency's dark history of torture.

Ms Haspel was picked on Tuesday by President Donald Trump to be the first female head of the CIA.

However, several senators say they want to know more about her time overseeing a secret CIA prison in Thailand from 2003 to 2005 when high-ranking terror suspects were reportedly waterboarded.

She also facilitated the destruction of waterboarding videos.

Although she now serves as CIA deputy director, Ms Haspel has not previously had to undergo Senate confirmation.

John McCain, the veteran Arizona senator, said he wanted to know more about her past roles.

“Ms Haspel needs to explain the nature and extent of her involvement in the CIA's interrogation programme,” Mr McCain said in a statement.

“I know the Senate will do its job in examining Ms. Haspel's record as well as her beliefs about torture and her approach to [the] current law.”

Although the actions had bilateral support when they were introduced after the 9/11 terror attacks, waterboarding was banned in 2006 and enhanced interrogation techniques were further reformed under Barack Obama.

Republicans hope to approve her nomination to replace Mike Pompeo quickly.