Trump defends CIA pick as ‘tough on terror’

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CIA Director-nominee Gina Haspel is telling senators that she would stand firm against restarting the spy agency’s brutal interrogation program of terrorist suspects. | AP file photo

WASHINGTON — 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.

Haspel offered to withdraw her nomination amid concerns that a debate over a harsh interrogation program would tarnish her reputation and that of the CIA, according to two senior administration officials.


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