The Latest: Sanders: Haspel offered withdrawal to shield CIA

Gina Haspel
The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the Central Intelligence Agency (all times local):

2:45 p.m.

The White House says acting CIA director Gina Haspel “wanted to do everything she could to protect the agency” when she offered to withdraw her nomination to permanently lead the CIA.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Monday that Haspel wants to ensure the “integrity of the CIA remains intact and isn’t unnecessarily attacked” as she goes through the confirmation process.

Sanders adds Haspel “is 100 percent committed” to going through the confirmation process.

Haspel’s involvement in the agency’s interrogation programs after the Sept. 11 attacks have drawn scrutiny from Democratic lawmakers.

Sanders says the White House is “fully confident” in Haspel’s ability to answer questions about her involvement in those programs on Wednesday when she testifies before the Senate.

___

7:20 a.m.

President Donald Trump is defending Gina Haspel, his nominee to head the Central Intelligence Agency, who has come under fire because of her involvement in detaining and brutally interrogating terror suspects after 9/11.

Trump says Democrats want to defeat Haspel’s nomination because she is “too tough on terror.”

Trump calls Haspel “highly respected,” and says she has come under fire “because she was too tough on Terrorists. Think of that, in these very dangerous times, we have the most qualified person, a woman, who Democrats want OUT because she is too tough on terror. Win Gina!”

Haspel’s confirmation hearing is set for Wednesday. She would be the first woman to lead the CIA and is the first career operations officer to be nominated to lead the agency in decades.

___

12:45 a.m.

Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Central Intelligence Agency, offered to withdraw her nomination amid concerns that a debate over a harsh interrogation program would tarnish her reputation and that of the CIA. That’s according to two senior administration officials.

White House aides on Friday sought out additional details about Haspel’s involvement in the CIA’s now-defunct program of detaining and brutally interrogating terror suspects after 9/11 as they prepared her for Wednesday’s confirmation hearing. This is when she offered to withdraw.

They said Haspel, who is the acting director of the CIA, was reassured that her nomination was still on track and she will not withdraw.

.