Trump’s Nominee for C.I.A. Director Offered to Withdraw Amid Concerns Over Past Role in Torture Program

A 2014 report by the Senate Intelligence Committee declared that the program to detain and interrogate terrorism suspects was deeply flawed and less effective than the C.I.A. let on. It also found that C.I.A. officials regularly misled lawmakers and the White House about the information it obtained and failed to provide basic oversight of secret prisons it established around the world.

The extent of Ms. Haspel’s role in the program is not known; only the report’s executive summary was released, and it obscured the identities of agency operatives. Ms. Haspel’s offer to withdraw was first reported on Sunday by The Washington Post.

Ms. Haspel was embroiled in another dark chapter in the C.I.A.’s interrogation program — one that is likely to resurface during her confirmation hearing. In late 2005, she played a role in a decision to destroy videotapes documenting the interrogation of Qaeda operatives at the Thailand facility. Jose A. Rodriguez Jr., then the head of the agency’s clandestine service, ordered the destruction of videotapes of the waterboarding sessions. Ms. Haspel, serving as Mr. Rodriguez’s chief of staff, was a strong advocate for getting rid of the tapes, former C.I.A. officers said.

Years later, when the C.I.A. wanted to name Ms. Haspel to run clandestine operations, Senator Dianne Feinstein, the California Democrat who then chaired the Senate Intelligence Committee, blocked the promotion over Ms. Haspel’s role in the interrogation program and the destruction of the tapes.

For the White House, Ms. Haspel’s confirmation comes on the heels of a tougher-than-expected confirmation for Mike Pompeo, the former C.I.A. director, as secretary of state. Mr. Pompeo, who is close to Ms. Haspel, ran into headwinds on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, where several Democrats announced they would oppose him.

Senator Rand Paul, the Kentucky Republican, also expressed reservations about Mr. Pompeo, though he eventually relented, and the Senate confirmed him by a vote of 57 to 42.

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