During a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing Wednesday, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) repeatedly pressed Trump CIA nominee Gina Haspel on the agency’s interrogation practices and whether they fell in line with America’s moral code.
Haspel, who’s been the deputy director of the CIA since Mike Pompeo’s confirmation as Secretary of State late last month, tried her darnedest to dodge the senator’s questions, however, refusing to answer with a simple “yes” or “no.” Haspel herself is now pursuing confirmation to officially head the federal law enforcement agency.
According to Harris, the decision to confirm Haspel “… would send a signal to the men and women of the agency, to the American people and to our neighbors around the world about our values as Americans on critical issues that range from our adherence to a rule of law to what we prioritize in terms of professional accountability and what we prioritize in terms of our moral authority as Americans and as a country.”
It wasn’t long before the former prosecutor turned her attention to the morality of torture, a subject Sens. Ron Wyden of Wisconsin (D) and Martin Heinrich of New Mexico (D) tried to question Haspel about earlier in the hearing.
“So one question I have not heard you answer is, ‘do you believe that the [CIA’s] previous interrogation techniques were immoral?’ “Harris asked. “It’s a ‘yes or no’ answer.”
Haspel danced around the question, responding, “I believe that CIA did extraordinary work to prevent another attack on this country giving the legal tools we were authorized to use.”
Her vague answer did little to keep Harris off her tail.
“Please answer yes or no,” the senator pressed. “Do you believe in hindsight that those techniques were immoral?”
“Senator, what I believe sitting here today is that I support the higher moral standard we have decided to hold ourselves to,” Haspel added.
Growing frustrated, Harris demanded that Haspel answer the question and the intelligence insisted she had.
“No, you haven’t,” Harris shot back. “Do you believe the previous techniques — now armed with hindsight — do you believe they were immoral? Yes or no?”
Watch more of their exchange above.