By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) - The Senate intelligence committee recommended Gina Haspel to lead the CIA Wednesday despite concerns over her role in the agency's enhanced interrogation program, which has been roundly criticized as torture.
The 10-5 vote behind closed doors clears the way for Haspel to receive a confirmation vote of the full Senate as early as this week.
Haspel is expected to win confirmation when a vote occurs despite her role in supervising a CIA black site in Thailand where prisoners were tortured as well as concerns over her role in the destruction of videotaped recordings of brutal CIA interrogations.
During her confirmation hearing before the Senate intelligence committee last week, Haspel was grilled by Democrats over her record, and repeatedly asked if she thought torture was immoral. She did not say it is.
Senator John McCain, a Republican who was a victim of torture during the Vietnam War, urged his colleagues to reject her nomination shortly after the hearing concluded.
"Ms. Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying," McCain said. "The Senate should exercise its duty of advice and consent and reject this nomination."
McCain is not expected to take part in Haspel's confirmation vote as he is in Arizona battling brain cancer.
Senator Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat on the intelligence committee, defended his support for Haspel, saying in a statement shortly after the committee voted he believes "she is someone who can and will stand up to the president if ordered to do something illegal or immoral -- like a return to torture."
If confirmed, Haspel will be the first woman to helm the CIA.