WASHINGTON (dpa-AFX) - A number of lawmakers have raised objection to President Donald Trump's choice to replace CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who has been nominated to be the new Secretary of State.
In a surprise announcement through Twitter Tuesday, Trump fired Rex Tillerson, and revealed his intention to nominate Pompeo in his place.
Also, he promoted Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel to the top Intelligence post.
If confirmed, she would become the first female director of the agency, but the historic significance is overshadowed by her alleged link to a black site prison in Thailand where terrorism suspects were tortured.
Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, responded sharply to the proposed leadership changes at the State Department and Central Intelligence Agency.
He demanded explanation from Haspel about the nature and extent of her involvement in the CIA's interrogation program during the confirmation process.
'The torture of detainees in U.S. custody during the last decade was one of the darkest chapters in American history,' he said in a statement.
McCain called on the Senate to 'do its job in examining Haspel's record as well as her beliefs about torture and her approach to current law'.
However, he had good words for Mike Pompeo, expressing confidence that he can meet that challenge as Secretary of State.
Sen. Ron Wyden, a senior member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, opposed the nominations of both Pompeo and Haspel.
Haspel's background makes her unsuitable to serve as CIA director, according to Wyden.
He accused Pompeo of downplaying Russia's attack on US democracy, 'at times contradicting the Intelligence Community he is supposed to lead'.
Senator Dianne Feinstein recalled concerns he expressed in the past with Haspel's connection to the CIA torture program.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn expressed concerns about holding confirmation hearings for both Pompeo and Haspel.
'Having the prospect of two additional confirmation fights perhaps is going to be a challenge,' according to him.
Former CIA analyst and whistleblower John Kiriakou told RT that Gina Haspel should be in the dock at The Hague, not in the CIA director's office, as she has 'blood all over her hands'.
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