Gina Haspel is set to face off with senators today in what is expected to be a bruising re-litigation of the use of harsh interrogation techniques during the George W. Bush administration. Haspel is set to be grilled by the Senate Intelligence Committee not only about her role in the use of the techniques, but also about her involvement in the destruction of videotapes documenting a pair of brutal interrogations at a black site prison that she briefly ran. On paper, Haspel’s nomination would seem to check all the right boxes, being a 33-year career veteran of the agency who has been endorsed by former intelligence officials associated with both parties. She has deep operational experience covering Russia and would be the first woman to lead the spy agency. She is expected to provide assurances that she does not support a return to the interrogation techniques, something she has been privately telling lawmakers behind closed doors, but those assurances appear unlikely to satisfy some critics. Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R-N.C.) said Tuesday that he believes Haspel will be reported favorably out of the committee, adding that he expects to hold a vote on her confirmation next week.
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