Gina Haspel, President Trump’s nominee to become the next CIA director, President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the CIA, Gina Haspel, sought to withdraw over concerns about her role in the agency’s interrogation program, The Washington Post reported on Sunday.
Haspel has come under criticism over her involvement in the CIA’s used of “enhanced interrogation techniques.”
She was summoned to the White House on Friday for a meeting to discuss her history in the interrogation program that employed techniques, including waterboarding, widely condemned as torture, The Post reported, citing four unidentified senior U.S. officials.
She told the White House she would step aside to avoid a brutal Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing on Wednesday. She then returned to agency headquarters in Langley, Virginia, the officials told the Post.
Haspel’s request caught Trump aides Marc Short and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders by surprise and that they rushed to meet with her later in the day at her office at CIA headquarters.
The report notes that White House officials are unsure whether she will formally withdraw, but that President Donald Trump has urged her to remain as the nominee.