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    CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel tried to withdraw over her role in a secret prison where terror suspects were tortured, but backed down after the White House BEGGED her to remain

    Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, offered to withdraw her nomination, two senior administration officials said Sunday.
    Haspel was concerned that a debate over harsh interrogation programs would tarnish her reputation and that of the CIA, but was convinced by top Trump aides to remain in the nomination process, the officials said.
    On Friday, Haspel expressed her concerns and senior White House aides, including legislative affairs head Marc Short and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, rushed to CIA Headquarters to meet with her, the Washington Post reported.
    Haspel was said to be concerned about debate over her involvement in the CIA’s now-defunct program of detaining and brutally interrogating terror suspects after 9/11 as she prepared for Wednesday’s confirmation hearing.
    The officials said Haspel, who is the acting director of the CIA, was reassured that her nomination was still on track and will not withdraw. The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss internal deliberations.
    Haspel, who would be the first woman to lead the CIA, is the first career operations officer to be nominated to lead the agency in decades. 
    She served the agency for 33 years, almost all of them undercover, and much of her record is classified. 
    Democrats say she should be disqualified because she was the chief of base at a covert detention site in Thailand code-named Cat’s Eye.
    There, Al-Qaeda suspect Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, accused of bombing the USS Cole, was waterboarded three times while Haspel ran the prison, the New York Times reported.
    Haspel also came under criticism over a 2005 decision to destroy tapes of harsh CIA interrogations, an order issued by then-CIA Deputy Director for Operations Jose Rodriguez while she was his chief of staff. 
    However, an internal investigationcleared her of wrongdoing in the destruction of the tapes.  
    Haspel has told lawmakers in recent weeks that she would stand firm against any effort to restart the brutal detention and interrogation program, administration officials told The Associated Press on Friday. She is expected to reiterate that publicly this week.
    Haspel, one official said, was wary of suffering the same fate as failed veterans affairs nominee Ronny Jackson and of dredging up the CIA’s troubled past. 
    She took over last month as the acting CIA director after the previous director, Mike Pompeo, was sworn in as secretary of state.
    After her offer to withdraw, White House aides worked to reassure her that she had the president’s support.
    As with other nominations, this one hit a roadblock but is back on track, said a third administration official familiar with the effort to get her confirmed.
    Haspel’s conversations with senators continue ahead of Wednesday’s confirmation hearing at the Senate Intelligence Committee and a later full vote in the Senate.
    In addition, the CIA has sent materials to the Senate, some classified, that the lawmakers can read to better understand not only her work in the Counterterrorism Center, which oversaw the harsh interrogation program, but also other aspects of her 33-year career, including more than 30 years undercover.
    She has received robust backing from former intelligence, diplomatic, military and national security officials, who praise her extensive intelligence career.
    On the opposing side are groups such as the American Civil Liberties Union, which says she should have stood up against the interrogation practices then.
    Raj Shah, a White House spokesman, on Sunday called Haspel a highly qualified nominee. ‘Her nomination will not be derailed by partisan critics who side with the ACLU over the CIA on how to keep the American people safe,’ he said.
    If her nomination is successful, Haspel would be the first female to serve as permanent director of the CIA.

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