[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 81 (Thursday, May 17, 2018)]
[Pages S2748-S2761]

                           EXECUTIVE SESSION


                     EXECUTIVE CALENDAR--Continued

  Mr. WARNER. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the Senate 
resume executive session and consideration of the Haspel nomination.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. WARNER. Madam President, I thank our friend, the chairman of the 
committee, the Senator from North Carolina.
  We have gone through a lot over the last couple of years, and I 
appreciate the fact that in terms of timing, he is going to allow me to 
speak first on Gina Haspel.
  Gina Haspel is among the most qualified people to be nominated for 
the position of the Director of the CIA. She has served with the Agency 
for 33 years, including tours as a Case Officer, four times as a 
Station Chief, the Deputy Chief of National Resources Division, the 
Deputy Director of the National Clandestine Service, and currently as 
the Deputy Director of the Agency. In many ways, her story is 
representative of the thousands of people at the Agency and throughout 
the intelligence community who serve quietly, without recognition, and 
often at great personal risk in order to keep our Nation safe from 
those who wish to do us harm.
  In addition, while she has not emphasized this, we should not 
overlook the historic nature of Ms. Haspel's nomination as the first 
woman to be nominated as Director of the CIA. Seeing her portrait in 
the halls of the Agency next to the long line of former Directors will 
be a long overdue but important breakthrough for the intelligence 
  I would also note that as a Senator from Virginia, the home to 
thousands of CIA personnel and the vice chairman of the Intelligence 
Committee, I have heard from many Agency officers--and for that matter, 
members of the rank and file of other intelligence community agencies--
and almost to a person, the rank and file have supported her 
  Let me be clear. This has not been an easy decision for me. Over the 
past several weeks, I have held multiple meetings and calls with Ms. 
Haspel and many others about her record and her character. In our open 
hearing, I raised questions about her involvement with the rendition, 
detention, and interrogation program and, if she were to be confirmed, 
her willingness to push back if President Trump asked her to undertake 
any immoral or legally questionable activity. I questioned her 
willingness to declassify, to the extent possible, more information 
about her background at the Agency. I still wish more could be done to 
discuss her background in an open setting. The Agency just recently has 
declassified more information about her service with the 
counterterrorism center. I thank them for that but still believe it 
would have been preferable if we could have found a way to be even more 
transparent. If she is confirmed as Director, I would encourage Ms. 
Haspel to keep this in mind.
  To those here who have concluded that Ms. Haspel's background with 
the RDI program should preclude her from leading the CIA, well, I 
respect their arguments, and I know the passion with which they put 
forward their position. I myself struggled with this point.
  Many people at the CIA participated in the program. They were told it 
was legal by the Justice Department and ordered by the President, but 
some of the actions undertaken were repugnant and amounted to torture. 
Since those days, America has had a long debate about the standards 
that we, as a nation, can and should apply to the treatment of 
detainees regardless of who they might be. That is why I was one of the 
17 cosponsors in the Senate of the McCain-Feinstein amendment to 
prohibit torture and to prohibit any interrogation techniques not 
authorized by the U.S. Army Field Manual. That is why I voted to both 
approve and to declassify the Senate Intelligence Committee's extensive 
study of the RDI program.
  I strongly believe that we, as Americans, have a duty to look 
squarely at our mistakes and not to sweep them under the rug but to 
learn from them and, in the future, to do better. Nor do I believe that 
we can excuse torture or the way in which detainees--no matter who they 
were or what crimes they were guilty of--were treated. We are better 
than that, and we need a CIA Director who will ensure in an ironclad 
way that we will never return to those days, that we will follow the 
law as enacted by Congress.
  This is why I pushed Ms. Haspel, both in our hearings and in our 
private meetings, on this very point: What is her view now of the RDI 
program? And how will she react if she were asked, as Director, to 
undertake something similar in the future? In both our one-on-one 
meetings and in classified sessions before the committee, I found 
Acting Director Haspel to be forthcoming regarding her views on that 
program. However, I thought it was important that she say this in 
public, not just privately, which is why I asked her to memorialize 
those comments in writing.
  Gina Haspel wrote: ``With the benefit of hindsight and my experience 
as a senior Agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not 
one the CIA should have undertaken.''
  I believe this is a clear statement of growth as a leader and 
learning from mistakes of the past. While I also wish that she would 
have been more forceful, I also understand her reluctance to condemn 
the many men and women at the Agency who thought they were doing the 
right thing at that time.
  I first met Gina at one of her overseas postings, but I didn't really 
get to work with her until this last year, when the former Director 
appointed her to be Deputy Director of the Agency. Over the last year, 
I have found her to be professional and forthright with our 
Intelligence Committee.
  I have had the ability to have candid, unfiltered discussions with 
her. Whether the challenge we confront is North Korea, ISIS terrorists, 
or the long-term challenges of countries like China and Russia, I will 
feel safer knowing that the CIA has Ms. Haspel at the helm.
  Most importantly, I believe she is someone who can and will stand up 

[[Page S2749]]

the President and who will speak truth to power. If this President 
orders her to do something illegal or immoral, such as return to 
torture, she will refuse. I believe this not just because she has told 
me so or because she wrote it in a letter or even because she said it 
in front of the committee under oath; I believe it, as well, because I 
have heard it from people who have worked with her for years, people 
who know and trust her--John Brennan, Jim Clapper, Leon Panetta, Jim 
Mattis, and many, many others who have served Presidents of both 
parties. Every one of them has said that they trust her to push back on 
actions that might be inappropriate coming from this President.
  I furthermore believe that she is someone who will push back--and 
push back strongly--against any attempts by this President to undercut, 
denigrate, or ignore the professional men and women of the CIA and 
their responsibility, again--first and foremost--to speak truth to 
power, whatever the political implications may be.
  It is for these reasons that I am supporting Gina Haspel's nomination 
to be the Director of the CIA. I respect my colleagues who made a 
different decision. This is not an easy choice. I, too, have spent 
weeks working through it, but at the end of the day and as we vote, 
hopefully, later this afternoon, I believe Gina Haspel should be 
confirmed. I look forward to supporting her. I look forward to her 
being a good Director of the CIA. I look forward to her performance, 
convincing those who could not support her today that her long-term 
value to our country will make our Nation safer and that she will act 
in accordance with the principles and values of our country.
  I yield the floor and 30 seconds to my colleague, the chairman of the 
  I want to thank him, as well, for continuing to push not only Ms. 
Haspel but the Agency, the Department of Justice, and others to make 
sure that members of the committee and, to another extent, Members of 
the Senate had as much access to information as ever before with any 
CIA Director. I value our working relationship with the committee. 
Sometimes the chairman and I don't always agree, but we always deal 
with things in a straightforward manner.
  I yield the floor to my dear friend, the chairman.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from North Carolina.
  Mr. BURR. Madam President, I thank the vice chairman of the 
Intelligence Committee, and I would also reiterate what he said. This 
is one of the last bipartisan committees on the Hill. It should be. It 
is because we are entrusted with seeing things and hearing things that 
nobody else can and verifying that we live within the letter of the law 
and the Presidential directives for the rest of the 85 Members of the 
Senate and the American people. We take that very seriously.
  I rise today in support of Gina Haspel, the President's nominee to be 
the next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Ms. Haspel has 
been asked to lead one of our Nation's most treasured assets, an Agency 
that works in the shadows. It requires a leader with unwavering 
integrity who will ensure that the organization operates lawfully, 
ethically, and morally.
  Gina was born in Kentucky. She was the oldest of five children. Her 
father was in the Air Force. She traveled from place to place. She told 
her dad one day that she wanted to go to West Point, only to hear her 
dad very gently remind her that West Point did not invite women. That 
did not delude her sense of service. After graduating from the 
University of Kentucky, Gina went on to work as a contractor with the 
10th Special Forces Group. It was at Fort Devens that Gina learned 
about the CIA, a place where she could serve her country along with 
other women doing clandestine work around the world. This excited her.
  In 1985 Gina swore an oath to defend the Constitution and began a 30-
plus year career of service at the Agency. Since that day, Gina Haspel 
has developed extensive overseas experience and served as Chief of 
Station in several locations around the world that we can't mention. 
But I can tell my colleagues that every time I traveled abroad to a 
location where Gina was the Chief of Station, I received the most 
thorough brief from the most organized station that I have had the 
opportunity to see.
  In Washington she has consistently proven herself a strong leader, 
rising to the role of Deputy Director of the National Clandestine 
Service and then Deputy Director of the entire Central Intelligence 
Agency. Those who saw her approach to that role say she served as a 
peacemaker, a general, a tough advocate for people, and a clear, steady 
guide for an Agency dealing with a complex web of world crisis.
  I believe Ms. Haspel's experience, her dedication to service, and her 
judgment make her a natural fit to lead the CIA as it enters a period 
of profound change and uncertainty. She is, by many accounts, the most 
qualified person the President could have chosen to lead the CIA and 
the most prepared individual in the 70-year history of this Agency. She 
is intimately familiar with the threats facing our Nation. Where others 
can discuss world events, Gina Haspel has lived those events. She has 
no learning curve.
  She has acted morally, ethically, and legally over a distinguished 
30-year career. She has earned the respect of the Agency workforce, of 
her peers, of Republicans and Democrats, of military officers, and of 
civilian security leaders, evidenced by the number of letters received 
in support of her nomination--too numerous to read.
  Gina has also the courage to speak truth to power, and she has 
demonstrated that courage time and again. She has a clear-eyed vision 
for the Agency and its future, informed by her career and her past 
experiences. Previous outside leaders of the CIA have worked hard to 
understand the Agency they were asked to run. But when a case officer, 
just back from a war zone, describes to Gina the credibility of a newly 
recruited asset and the challenges of dodging check points to get to a 
meeting with a source, she knows all the right questions to ask because 
she has been there and she has done that.
  For all these reasons, I support Gina Haspel to be the next Director 
of the Central Intelligence Agency. I am also mindful of the historic 
nature of Gina Haspel's nomination and what it means for those first-
tour case officers and junior analysts who will join the Agency this 
year and in the years to come.
  As I said at Ms. Haspel's nomination hearing, outside the Agency 
workforce, not many Americans get an opportunity to walk the halls of 
the old headquarters building. Those who do, after entering, encounter 
a series of portraits depicting former Directors of the OSS, Central 
Intelligence, and the Central Intelligence Agency, as its name has 
morphed. Some of these Directors were loved. Some were controversial. 
Some little understood the Agency they were asked to lead. Some made 
disastrous decisions out of hubris or inexperience or both. But one 
thing is common: All the portraits are of men.
  Many want to make Gina's nomination about one small piece of the 
Agency's past. If that were the standard that this institution applies, 
John Brennan would never have been confirmed as the Director of the 
Central Intelligence Agency because when he was at the Agency, he was 
fourth in command, versus Gina Haspel, who was a GS-15. Most of us, 
though, are looking toward the Agency's future.
  Avril Haines, Meroe Park, and many others who have served or are 
currently serving have cracked the glass ceiling at the Agency. Gina is 
poised to break it. It may be impossible to measure the importance of 
that breakthrough, but I do know that it will send a signal to the 
current workforce and to the workforce of the future that a lifetime of 
commitment to the Agency and its mission can and will be rewarded. To 
those walking for hours to get to a source meeting, to those officers 
who stay up all night preparing for the Presidential daily brief, to 
those making tough calls about putting their people in harm's way to 
secure the intelligence we need to keep our country safe, to those who 
find a needle in a haystack, catch the bad guys, find the weapon 
shipments, and come home and walk past a wall of stars at the Agency, 
know that we support you and we support the job you do. You deserve a 
Director who understands who you are, what you do, what you can do, and 
what you should do. You deserve a Director who understands your 
sacrifice and has a clear vision for the future of

[[Page S2750]]

the Agency and its mission. You deserve Gina Haspel.
  I ask that we in this body this afternoon confirm Gina Haspel as 
Director of the Central Intelligence Agency without further delay.
  I thank the Presiding Officer.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The bill clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CRUZ. Madam President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.


  Mr. DURBIN. Mr. President, in December 2012, the legendary Senator 
from Hawaii, Daniel Inouye, passed away. He was the longtime chairman 
and vice chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee.
  By a twist of fate, I succeeded him in that role, and one of the most 
notable surprises to me was how much of the funding for the 
intelligence community came with that responsibility.
  Together with my earlier service on the Senate Intelligence 
Committee, I have learned that oversight of the secret agencies of our 
government is one of the most challenging and important roles of 
  It is a difficult task. Many of the issues involved in overseeing the 
CIA and other agencies are highly technical. Some issues present 
extraordinary challenges, where the security of our Nation must be 
balanced with the best interests of the American people. All of these 
matters are blanketed by the highest degree of secrecy.
  Despite all of these oversight challenges, there are issues that are 
simply black and white. The starkest of these issues in the last two 
decades was the CIA's program to torture detainees at black sites 
throughout the world after 9/11.
  After 9/11, many Americans thought long and hard about whether to 
torture terrorists to gain information to stop the next catastrophic 
attack. Implicit in that moral question is the assumption that we would 
capture the right people who might have essential intelligence to save 
American lives.
  Last week, the New York Times published an article by a Libyan woman 
who says she was detained at a black site in Thailand.
  Her story details how she and her husband were taken by masked men to 
a windowless room in Thailand. When moved, she was bound to a 
stretcher. She was deprived of sleep. She was struck in the abdomen.
  The Bush administration used the euphemism ``enhanced interrogation 
techniques'' to describe this kind of abuse. Despite their words, this 
was torture, plain and simple.
  The Libyan woman was halfway through a pregnancy at the time. She was 
then sent to Libya, where she spent weeks in another prison, with a 
crib in the room, as though she was being mocked for being with child. 
Her baby was born just after her release.
  Last week, the highest levels of the British Government formally 
apologized for its role in the detention and treatment of her and her 
husband. No such apology has been forthcoming from the United States.
  To understand the full dimensions of the CIA's so-called enhanced 
interrogation techniques is a difficult task. I commend Senator 
Feinstein and her staff for an exhaustive report, years in the making, 
that explains this torture program in great detail. The stress 
positions, the sleep deprivation, the ``walling,'' the slapping, and 
the waterboarding, it is all in there, unclassified, for the public to 
  Simply informing the public about what happened is not sufficient. 
These sad chapters in American history cannot be closed until there is 
  The nominee for the next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, 
Gina Haspel, exercised a series of leadership positions that involved 
the CIA's use of these torture techniques. She was in a position to do 
something about it, had she believed this torture was wrong.
  I note that many of her current and former colleagues have endorsed 
her nomination. They have spoken about her capabilities and 
effectiveness in positive terms. I do not know how many of them have a 
detailed understanding of her role in the CIA's torture program.
  I met with Ms. Haspel at length and read documents that detailed her 
role in the torture program. She stated to me that, as a CIA officer, 
she had been advised by all the appropriate legal authorities that she 
could carry out her assigned duties and remain within the law.
  That may be the case, but that does not explain how a person can see 
an individual be subjected to waterboarding, and the excruciating 
feeling that they are going to drown, and not question whether that 
legal guidance is just. Simply labelling conduct ``legal'' doesn't make 
it right.
  In fact, we now know that the Bush administration twisted the law in 
its infamous torture report to justify the use of torture. The Justice 
Department's legal analysis was informed by false information from the 
CIA that techniques like waterboarding helped obtain lifesaving 
information that was otherwise unavailable.
  But the decisive issue as to this nominee is much simpler.
  The destruction of videotapes of those interrogation sessions remains

[[Page S2754]]

an act that is impossible to justify or ignore.
  The CIA has provided documents for the review of all Senators that 
attempt to exonerate Ms. Haspel in the destruction of those tapes.
  On December 7, 2007, the day after the destruction of these tapes was 
first reported, I asked then-Attorney General Michael Mukasey to open a 
criminal investigation into the destruction of the tapes. This led to 
the so-called Durham investigation, led by Federal prosecutor John 
  Approximately 2 weeks ago, the Department of Justice for the first 
time provided only certain Members of the Senate with the results of 
that investigation, called the Durham Report. Few Senators even know 
that this report exists.
  I am the vice chairman of the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, 
which funds the CIA, and a senior member of the Judiciary Committee, 
which has jurisdiction over the Justice Department. I have asked to 
review the Durham Report, but the Trump administration has refused.
  What does this report conclude? Does it have information that was not 
available during other reviews? The vast majority of Senators and the 
American public will never know before the vote is called on this 
  We have seen the CIA, which is tasked with providing intelligence, 
take a strong stand in favor of this nomination. I do not question the 
right of the administration to push for their appointees. But I do 
question whether our intelligence community is compromising its 
objectivity in lobbying the public in favor of the nomination. Given 
the secrecy over the Durham Report, I can only wonder if we are being 
told just one side of the story.
  I continue to believe that the best interest of our Nation, our 
Government, and the CIA is to make a clean break from the odious 
history of torture.
  In my time overseeing the CIA, I know that there are many experienced 
professionals, both inside the intelligence community and outside of 
it, that are able to lead this agency with great skill and without the 
history of association with waterboarding.
  It is impossible to consider this nomination without thinking of our 
friend and colleague Senator John McCain.
  Senator McCain is an American hero. He survived horrific torture as a 
POW in Vietnam and since then has spent almost five decades in 
honorable public service to the country he loves dearly.
  While Gina Haspel was accommodating and covering up the torture 
program, Senator McCain was the first prominent Republican to speak out 
against this program, which was created by an administration of his own 
political party.
  I was proud to work closely with Senator McCain on what has rightly 
become known as the McCain torture amendment, which made it clear that 
torture and cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment are absolutely 
prohibited in America--no exceptions.
  That amendment passed this body on an overwhelming 90-9 vote, despite 
a veto threat from the Bush administration.
  Now, in the twilight of a great American life, Senator McCain has 
again spoken out against an administration of his own political party, 
urging us to oppose this nomination because of the nominee's complicity 
in torture. For that principled stand, Senator McCain has been 
subjected to crass insults by an administration that doesn't have the 
decency to properly and publicly apologize to the McCain family.
  Ultimately, America's strength and influence abroad rests not just 
with its military might, but also with the power of its ideas and 
values, of which torture is the ultimate betrayal.
  For these reasons, I oppose the nomination of Gina Haspel.
  Ms. COLLINS. Mr. President, I rise today to express my support for 
the nomination of Gina Haspel to become the next Director of the 
Central Intelligence Agency. Ms. Haspel is an accomplished intelligence 
professional who will bring 33 years of experience to her new role. She 
has dedicated her entire life to the service of our country and has 
performed extraordinarily well in a number of challenging positions--
often, in some of the most dangerous places in the world.
  Ms. Haspel has widespread support among the national security 
community. More than 50 leaders signed a bipartisan letter endorsing 
her nomination. The list includes eight former CIA Directors and Acting 
CIA Directors who were appointed by both Republican and Democratic 
Presidents, ranging from Ronald Reagan to Barack Obama. Michael Morell, 
a former CIA Acting Director under President Obama, describes her as a 
person of ``deep integrity,'' and John Brennan, another former CIA 
Director under President Obama, said she will provide ``unvarnished, 
apolitical, objective intelligence input to Donald Trump and others.''
  At Ms. Haspel's hearing before the Senate Select Committee on 
Intelligence, I questioned Ms. Haspel regarding the enhanced 
interrogation program that was started after the September 11, 2001, 
terrorist attacks. I have long believed and have consistently stated 
that this program was completely unacceptable and that waterboarding is 
tantamount to torture. In fact, in 2015, I cosponsored the McCain-
Feinstein amendment to the defense authorization bill to ensure that 
techniques such as waterboarding are never used again and that the Army 
Field Manual governs interrogations of detainees.
  In response to my questions, Ms. Haspel, who was not a high-ranking 
CIA official at the time, indicated that she played no role in the 
creation of the interrogation program and that she wasn't even aware of 
its existence until more a year after it began. Furthermore, she said 
that she supported the 2015 law changes and made clear that she does 
not believe that the CIA should be in the ``interrogation business.'' 
She testified that, under her leadership, the CIA would follow the law 
and would not resume enhanced interrogations and that she would not 
seek to repeal the law.
  Moreover, in a letter to the vice chairman of the Senate Select 
Committee on Intelligence, Senator Mark Warner, Ms. Haspel said that 
she would ``refuse to undertake any proposed activity'' that is 
contrary to her moral and ethical values, CIA's mission and expertise, 
or the law. ``The United States,'' she said, ``must be an example to 
the rest of the world'' and ``the enhanced interrogation program is not 
one the CIA should have undertaken.''
  Another issue I closely examined was Ms. Haspel's role in the 
Agency's decision to destroy tapes involving one detainee who was 
subjected to enhanced interrogation. The accountability review from 
then-Acting Director Morell exonerated Ms. Haspel and stated 
conclusively that it was the CIA's then-Director of the National 
Clandestine Service who ordered the destruction of the tapes. As Mr. 
Morell, an Obama administration appointee, stated: ``Ms. Haspel did not 
destroy the tapes, she did not oversee the destruction of the tapes, 
and she did not order the destruction of the tapes.''
  I will conclude by saying that it speaks very well of Ms. Haspel's 
nomination that she was reported favorably by a bipartisan majority of 
members on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, earning the 
support of both the chairman and vice chairman. I hope that Ms. Haspel 
will be confirmed quickly to be the next Director of the CIA, and I 
look forward to working with her in this new capacity to counter the 
wide range of national security challenges facing our country.
  Mr. BROWN. I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. WYDEN. Mr. President, as the Senate moves to vote on the 
nomination to head the CIA, here is the bottom line. While the American 
people have been told that Gina Haspel likes Johnny Cash and talked to 
Mother Teresa, Ms. Haspel has been exercising the unprecedented power 
to personally censor any facts about her that might get in the way of 
her nomination.
  When the Senate votes on a nomination when all the relevant 
information is, by design, kept secret, how is this any different than 
a coverup? I regret to have to say that the surrender of the Senate's 
responsibility to conduct real

[[Page S2755]]

oversight of this nominee means that Gina Haspel has been given a pass 
on all the most important and the most relevant issues.
  I am going to start with three.
  The first is this: What was her opinion about the CIA's torture 
program when it was happening?
  The Washington Post newspaper reported that unnamed officials were 
pushing back against accusations that she has supported torture.
  Now, Ms. Haspel said she learned about the program in 2002. I believe 
it is especially important to know what her views were later, between 
2005 and 2007, when the CIA itself was winding the program down. At 
that time, did Ms. Haspel call for the program to be continued or 
expanded? I asked her that in an open intelligence meeting. She did not 
come close to answering that crucial question.
  No. 2, what was her role in the destruction of the torture tapes? The 
nominee's story here is riddled with holes, and key facts have been 
covered up.
  One matter that we know about is that her boss at the time, Mr. Jose 
Rodriguez, has publicly contradicted her account of the handling of the 
destruction of the torture tapes to a Pulitzer Prize-winning 
  No. 3, how can the Senate possibly take seriously Ms. Haspel's 
confirmation conversion on torture that was submitted on the eve of a 
crucial vote?
  There has been a lot of reporting in the press saying that she 
personally played a role in the CIA torture program. The American 
people deserve to know whether those reports are true. Every single 
material question to her about them has been met with stonewalling and 
evasion. Instead of real responses, Ms. Haspel offered possibly the 
latest confirmation conversion in history, 16 years after she first 
learned about the torture program and only just before a vote on her 
  Over and over again, I and other Senators have insisted that Ms. 
Haspel declassify information about her background that would not in 
any way compromise the safety of the American people. This is 
information that is directly relevant to her nomination. In the 
language of the Intelligence Community--I have read it--the 
overwhelming bulk of this information can be declassified without 
compromising sources and methods. Yet every single time a Senator 
pushed for declassification, Gina Haspel said no. Despite our repeated 
requests, she decided she would not allow the American people to know 
who she is and what she has done.
  This has been--and, again, it is painful to have to say this--a stark 
failure of Senate oversight, and it is about as flagrant an example as 
I have ever seen. The Senate should have stood up to this self-serving 
abuse of power, but it did not.
  For me, it is democracy 101 that confirmations are not supposed to 
take place in secret. Nominees don't get to decide what is known about 
them. Yet this core principle--core principle of our democracy has just 
been chucked in the trash. Instead of standing up for the Constitution 
and for the American people, the Senate could be rewarding Gina Haspel 
and the CIA for this extraordinary and self-serving abuse of power.
  With respect to other issues, it is important to note that the 
Agency--again, under the direction of Ms. Haspel--has also conducted an 
unprecedented influence campaign to promote her confirmation. This, 
too, is wrong. The CIA, like every government agency, works for the 
American people. It is not supposed to use its enormous power to serve 
the personal interests of whoever is running it. The classification 
rules are there for national security. They are not there for the 
political security of an individual. They are there to protect the 
dedicated women and men who undertake dangerous missions undercover. 
They are not there to shield a nominee for a Senate-confirmed job from 
  I and a number of my colleagues have looked at the classified 
information about Ms. Haspel and have concluded it can be released to 
the public without compromising sources and methods. We asked how she 
could justify keeping it secret. Her answer almost always is, that is 
how ``we always protect our officers.''
  I want people to understand what is wrong with that statement. Of 
course, the CIA must protect undercover CIA officers. I don't take a 
backseat to anybody in this Chamber for protecting those people who are 
undercover. In fact, I wrote a law, along with Senator Bond, our former 
colleague, increasing the penalty for outing people who are undercover. 
Gina Haspel is not undercover. She is asking the U.S. Senate to be 
vested with a position that would make her one of the most public and 
visible intelligence leaders in the world.
  This is not an undercover job. It is one of the most visible national 
security positions, not just in our country but in the world. It ought 
to be accompanied by accountability, and hiding behind the protections 
that are rightly given undercover officers to advance her career I find 
  I wish to also note that her classification decisions are in 
violation of Executive Order No. 13526. For decades, the intelligence 
community has been barred from keeping information classified to 
prevent embarrassment or conceal violations of law or administrative 
error. It is pretty clear those rules are not high up on Ms. Haspel's 
priority list.
  What I am especially worried about--I am going to go into this--is 
that if you can violate the classification rules to get confirmed, the 
Senate says: Oh, no big deal, it is going to get done again and again.
  Last time I looked, most Americans believed this country needs more 
accountability, more transparency, and less unnecessary secrecy.
  Much of the attention on the nomination has been about the press 
reports of Ms. Haspel's role in the CIA torture program. Throughout the 
process, she has flatout refused to confirm or deny if she had any 
connection to it. How can this possibly be classified? Three years ago, 
the Senate Intelligence Committee released a 500-page executive summary 
of the torture report. The CIA released a long and detailed response. 
What the CIA did to all those detainees is now officially declassified. 
Former CIA officers have written whole books about it. How in the world 
can you say Ms. Haspel's reported involvement in the program is 
classified? You can do it because she says so, and she is the boss.
  At one point, I asked Ms. Haspel whether opinions about the CIA 
torture program expressed by CIA officers were classified. I wasn't 
even asking then about anyone's involvement in the program, just what 
people might have thought about it. Ms. Haspel wouldn't answer that 
question either. She said that even the matter of whether those 
opinions are classified is itself classified--downright Orwellian, in 
my view.
  In a democracy, there have to be some basic rules about what is and 
what isn't classified. We are seeing a replacement of those rules with 
essentially the whims of leaders who aren't accountable. Secret law--
the classification of legal interpretations rather than sources and 
methods--is a serious problem, including at Ms. Haspel's CIA. 
Information that doesn't need to be classified to protect national 
security is being covered up for political purposes.
  Speaking of Orwell, the classification rules themselves are going to 
be classified. I have been concerned about this tendency for years. I 
want to emphasize, I have made this clear to political leaders of both 
political parties, and I continue to believe that. But if the CIA and 
Ms. Haspel can get away with all this, the worst is yet to come.
  As I have been saying since she was nominated, I have a host of 
concerns about all of these issues. I hope Senators will exercise 
independent judgment. There is a classified Intelligence Committee 
minority memo about Ms. Haspel, and I hope every Senator will read it 
and ask themselves publicly, ``If the American people actually knew 
about all this, how would I vote?''
  What I can say is, her classified comments about her background have 
been as troubling as her public testimony. What I can say is, when I 
did get unclassified responses to my questions, they certainly were not 
assuring. Public discussions about the CIA have generally been about 
overseas operations affecting foreigners. It has been decades since the 
public really focused on the danger that the CIA could violate the 
privacy of Americans, but the danger is there, and hard questions ought 
to be asked.

[[Page S2756]]

  One example is section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance 
Act, recently reauthorized by the Congress. The CIA has the authority, 
under that law, to identify foreign targets and then to search through 
the communications of those targets for particular Americans. The CIA 
can conduct these backdoor searches of Americans without a warrant. 
That creates a danger of reverse targeting, which is when the 
government, in this case the CIA, targets a foreigner to find out what 
an American is saying.
  One way to help prevent reverse targeting is to recognize that when 
the government is conducting lots of backdoor searches on Americans and 
then sending around reports on those Americans, maybe it is the 
Americans whom the government is really interested in. By the way, the 
privacy board agrees with it, and so does the current Assistant 
Attorney General for National Security.
  Given all that--the prospect of what it would mean for Americans--I 
asked Ms. Haspel about it. Again, what I got back were plenty of words 
but nothing that provided any assurance that the CIA has any system at 
all for guarding against reverse targeting of Americans under the 
Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.
  Also, the Agency collects a lot of intelligence under an Executive 
Order known as 12333. I wanted to know if the Agency was conducting 
backdoor searches on Americans through that data. The current Director 
of the National Security Agency told me that when the NSA conducts 
searches of Americans, those searches have to be approved on a case-by-
case basis, with probable cause, by the Attorney General. The NSA 
doesn't actually have to go to court, which is a concern. But those 
requirements create meaningful hurdles to abuse. I thought it was 
important to ask about the CIA: When can the CIA conduct backdoor 
searches of Americans?
  The response I got from Ms. Haspel is that the searches are 
authorized if they are designed to get information related to the CIA's 
activities. That means there is no standard at all on backdoor searches 
of Americans.
  I have mentioned these two unclassified examples because they show 
how vague the rules are and how easily the CIA could violate the 
privacy of Americans. That is why it is important to have leaders at 
the Agency who believe in the privacy of the American people and who 
are committed to protecting it, protecting Americans--protecting 
Americans even if sometimes a lawyer says something might be 
technically legal. I don't believe Gina Haspel will be that kind of 
  Before I wrap up, there are a couple of other matters with respect to 
the torture program. I mentioned that since the torture program has 
been largely declassified, it can be discussed openly. Senator McCain, 
whom we admire so much, said last week that Ms. Haspel's refusal to 
acknowledge torture's immorality is disqualifying. I am going to talk a 
bit more about Senator McCain before I wrap up. I have always been a 
John McCain guy on a lot of issues. I came to the Senate and joined the 
Commerce Committee that he chaired, and I will talk a little about 
that, but he sure sums it up right on torture. He says: It is wrong. It 
harms America because of the statement it makes about American values 
around the world. Then he points out it is not effective.
  Since the program has been largely declassified, it can be discussed 
openly. The CIA captured innocent people. It tortured dozens of 
detainees. It didn't just waterboard people. The CIA placed detainees 
in ice water. It kept them awake for a week. It stuffed detainees in 
small boxes. The list goes on and on. They were always worse than how 
they were described to Congress or the Department of Justice.
  Through it all, it seemed that the CIA and the government had not 
really held anybody accountable. The CIA also provided numerous false 
claims to the Department of Justice, to Congress, and to everybody else 
about torture.
  Now, I have never been a big believer in confirmation conversions. My 
general take is that nominees will say about anything to get confirmed, 
but Ms. Haspel's statement with respect to torture has to be the most 
delayed and the most grudging confirmation conversion in history. She 
said she learned about the torture program in 2002. It took 16 years 
before she was willing to say anything critical about it.
  I mentioned asking her about her views when the program was winding 
down. That was not something that was a debatable proposition, as it 
was in public source materials. The CIA was winding down the program. 
It was capturing fewer people and no longer using the waterboarding.
  So what were her views on the program? I asked her specifically 
because it was in public sources. When the Agency was winding down the 
program, was she for continuing it or even expanding it? I asked her 
twice--in the hearing and in a written question. Her quote was that she 
was ``committed.'' Figure out what that means. To me, that is about as 
clear an evasion of a very important issue as I can find.
  Apropos of the present, usually nominees offer their confirmation 
conversions before the eve of the key vote. I had mentioned that this 
was awfully grudging. The Agency shouldn't have undertaken a torture 
program, she said, because it did damage our officers and our standing 
in the world.
  That is true, but at no time did she ever express regret or anything 
that reflected that this was just plain wrong. She offered up the 
classic Washington, almost nonapology. She was not sorry for what the 
Agency did. She was just not happy with how it was perceived.
  Worse still are some of the justifications for the torture program 
that she is still providing. For example, she is still arguing that the 
program produced valuable intelligence. She says it is unknowable 
whether the torture techniques produced valuable intelligence.
  Yet it is knowable. The intelligence that the CIA attributed to 
torture came from other sources. When the committee looked at the CIA's 
own records, it found that key intelligence was provided by detainees 
before the CIA engaged in the torture. It is these kinds of documented 
facts that have made Ms. Haspel's statements so troubling.
  Why are her equivocations about the effectiveness of torture so 
important? I think we all remember the campaign in the fall of 2016, 
when then-Candidate Trump said: ``Torture works.'' It seems to me that 
it is not in America's interest to have a CIA Director who responds 
with: Well, there are a lot of aspects to the issue, and I am not happy 
about how the Agency was perceived in terms of what it did.
  With regard to John McCain, like a lot of Senators, I am thinking now 
about some of the big battles and tough fights that we had a chance to 
work on together. I became Oregon's first new Senator in almost 30 
years. Oregon has always been about wood products, and it always will 
be. I said I would go to the Senate and fight like crazy to get more 
jobs to those rural areas and try to get Oregon and our country into 
some new fields.
  It is not generally known, but in those days, John McCain had just 
become the chairman of the Commerce Committee.
  I went to him, and I asked: Mr. Chairman, why don't you and Chairman 
Leahy, who has been a stalwart on these issues, lead an effort to try 
to write the rules of the road for the internet?
  By and large, there were not any.
  He kind of smiled at me--that quintessential John McCain smile--and 
basically said: Why don't you go out and figure out how to do it, and 
we will have a hell of a good time in making the case.
  Under John McCain's leadership, what we did was to, in fact, write 
the rules of the road for 10,000 taxing jurisdictions in America. As a 
result of those early days, you can't discriminate against electronic 
commerce, which would have clobbered the internet with thousands of 
discriminatory decisions. There were digital signatures. We wrote the 
regulatory rules for social media that are often cited as creating $1 
trillion worth of wealth in the private economy.
  To a great extent, John McCain brought his typical passion to those 
new areas that he would be the first to say he didn't know everything 
about, but he said: Hey, look, we ought to do something that is in 
America's interest.
  We didn't care about Democrats, and we didn't care about Republicans.

[[Page S2757]]

  As Senators proceed to this vote in a half hour--a historic vote, in 
my opinion--I hope they will reflect on what John McCain has had to say 
about torture. He has said Ms. Haspel's refusal to acknowledge 
torture's immorality is disqualifying. John McCain has urged the Senate 
to reject her nomination.
  John McCain has been a towering authority on this issue and has been 
a guiding light for the Senate on national security policy. I also just 
mentioned something I don't think anybody knew, which is about writing 
the rules of the road for the internet.
  It is my hope that John McCain's powerful and unimpeachable views on 
the issue of torture and this nominee will continue to be heard today 
and well into the future. There is no greater voice on this subject 
than John McCain's.
  I want him to know how grateful I am for his leadership on this and 
how, in the days ahead, I look forward to, hopefully, being able to 
tell my grandchildren what a man of stature and public service really 
brought to the Senate. I hope Senators will reflect on that before they 
  Throughout this nomination process, there were not a whole lot of 
topics that were declassified. So I am just going to share a story 
about Ms. Haspel and the destruction of the videotapes.
  There is important information in the report by U.S. Attorney John 
Durham that most Senators were not allowed to see. Like everything else 
about her career, the information that reflects poorly on Ms. Haspel 
gets covered up, but we did learn some things about Ms. Haspel and the 
destruction of the torture videotapes. For one, she wrote the cable 
that authorized the destruction. Second, she was an advocate for 
destroying the tapes and was involved in what former Acting Director 
Mike Morell called ``efforts to press for and facilitate a resolution 
of the matter.'' That is a lot more than drafting a cable.
  Especially problematic for Ms. Haspel and her boss, Jose Rodriguez, 
is that there were reservations or there was even outright opposition 
from the White House, the head of national intelligence, the CIA, and 
the Congress to the destruction of the tapes. So Mr. Rodriguez decided 
to go it alone and sent the cable Ms. Haspel had drafted without 
telling the lawyers, the CIA Director, or anyone else.
  Here is where Ms. Haspel's story about the destruction of the tapes 
really runs into trouble. Jose Rodriguez, her boss, gave an interview 
in which he told Ms. Haspel in advance that he was planning on sending 
the cable without seeking authorization. So I asked her about that 
story. She denied it. I don't know who is telling the truth. Yet here 
we are, voting on this nominee without our having this direct 
contradiction in any way resolved.
  Then there is the question of what happened after the cable was sent 
but before the tapes were actually destroyed. Ms. Haspel has said that 
she was at her desk and could see her computer screen. So it was 
shortly after the cable was sent that she became aware of it. She said 
it was at that point that she walked over to discuss it with Mr. 
  So what did she do? She knew that the destruction of evidence had 
been ordered over everyone's objections. Did she intervene to stop the 
destruction before it happened? Did she tell the lawyers in time for 
them to intervene? Did she tell the White House? Did she tell the head 
of national intelligence? Did she just let it happen?
  These are central questions because they tell us what kind of leader 
Ms. Haspel is. In order to get confirmed, she has made all kinds of 
promises about standing up for what is right and rejecting 
inappropriate orders. But what did she do when she knew an order had 
been sent to destroy evidence over the objections of lawyers and 
everybody else? There is no record of her doing anything to stop it.
  I offer this small window into her background because, I think, we 
all ought to be asking how might she react when confronted with an 
illegal, immoral, or inappropriate direction.
  I mentioned what the President said earlier in the campaign--that he 
would bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding. He has 
praised Ms. Haspel for being tough on terror. You don't have to be 
Picasso to connect the dots about what the dangers are here. Other than 
a few belated promises that were made to get confirmed, what evidence 
is there, actually, to suggest that Ms. Haspel would really push back?
  I close, simply, with this. I have an enormous amount of respect for 
the good work being done by those at the CIA. The nature of the secret, 
risk-taking work that they do is an extraordinary service to the 
American people. My concern is that when something goes off the rails, 
it is going to be because of a variety of scenarios that will not have 
a lot to do with their good work. For example, it could be because 
there is a CIA Director who sees every lawyer's approval as a green 
light and every lawyer's warning as an annoyance. It could be because 
CIA leadership decides to hide from public scrutiny information that 
need not be classified.
  My concerns about Ms. Haspel are not a matter of history. I have 
concerns about what she is saying today, both about her background and 
about current programs. I am concerned that after we have heard from 
John McCain and each of us has reflected, as I have briefly, on our 
extraordinary experiences with this unique public servant, we will 
still have to make a judgment here. I hope that colleagues, when they 
vote in a little bit, will recognize that there is much more that the 
full Senate and the American people have a right to know. I believe 
that if they did, they would join Senator McCain and me in opposing 
this nomination.
  I regret to have to say, as I did in the beginning, that I believe 
the Senate has surrendered its responsibility to do real oversight 
here. This process has been a disservice to our constitutional duty. I 
believe the American people deserve to know more than that Gina Haspel 
likes Johnny Cash while she is simultaneously exercising the power to 
censor the facts about her background. I urge colleagues to reject this 
  Mr. President, I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Arkansas.
  Mr. COTTON. Mr. President, the Director of the Central Intelligence 
Agency is not as old an office as some others in the President's 
Cabinet, but it is no less important. The Director's job is to provide 
the critical information on which the President's national security 
decisions are based. For this reason, Presidents of both parties have 
chosen seasoned statesmen to serve this post, men like Allen Dulles, 
George H.W. Bush, Bob Gates, and Mike Pompeo. Out of respect for the 
CIA's integrity and professionalism, they often kept in office 
Directors who had been appointed by their predecessors. That is because 
partisanship has no place at the CIA.
  The national interest must be uppermost in our minds, which is why I 
will be voting to confirm Gina Haspel as our next CIA Director. 
Secretary Pompeo left the Agency in good shape, and Ms. Haspel was his 
very capable Deputy. Moreover, few people have contributed as much to 
the CIA's recent successes as Ms. Haspel. She has 33 years of 
experience working for the Agency, serving first on the frontlines of 
the Cold War and later on the frontlines of the War on Terror. If 
confirmed, she would also be the first woman to lead the Agency.
  Given her many accomplishments, her diligence, dedication, and her 
fierce love of country, I am astonished and disappointed at the 
controversy over the nomination of this great American. After all, Ms. 
Haspel is a career professional whose record of achievement speaks for 
  She joined the Agency in 1985, working as a case officer for several 
years in both Africa and Europe. Over time, she rose up the ranks, 
serving first as Chief of Staff and then as Deputy Director of the 
Directorate of Operations. She served as Chief of Station--the officer 
responsible for overseeing all of the CIA's work in a foreign country--
four different times.
  Having served under six different Presidents from both parties, Ms. 
Haspel has never been a partisan. She is a professional whose many 
years of work command respect throughout the CIA. She has never avoided 
controversy to protect her own career.
  Time and again, Ms. Haspel sought out danger. She raised her right 
hand and volunteered for some of the Agency's most dangerous 
  It was on September 11, 2001, after seeing the first plane hit the 

[[Page S2758]]

Trade Center on television, that she walked into the CIA's 
Counterterrorism Center and said: Put me on the job. She didn't have to 
do that. As she said, she could have hidden out on the Swiss desk, but 
she didn't. She took on what she knew would be a tough and 
controversial job. That is the kind of woman Gina Haspel is.
  It is true that because of her willingness to take on a tough job, 
she was present for some of the most difficult decisions about how to 
protect America in the days after 9/11. Yes, she was around when the 
Agency was responsible for the detention and interrogation of notorious 
terrorists, but there has been so much misinformation spread about what 
she did that I want to set the record straight.
  Ms. Haspel didn't start this program. She didn't even know it existed 
until a year after it began. In fact, Nancy Pelosi learned about this 
program before Gina Haspel did.
  She did not ``cheerlead'' the program, as some Senators have wrongly 
claimed based on a book--the author of which later issued a correction 
on this very point.
  Other Senators claim they are worried about the message that would be 
sent by confirming Ms. Haspel. I confess, I am amazed that these 
Democrats say they can't in good conscience vote on the confirmation of 
Ms. Haspel, who was a midlevel employee when the program was active, 
yet they voted in 2013 to confirm John Brennan, who was the No. 4 
ranking official at that time.
  While I am at it, let me also say that she did not destroy any tapes 
of those interrogations; she simply wrote the draft cable for her boss, 
the Director of Operations, which authorized their destruction. He 
released the cable, he has acknowledged, without her advance knowledge. 
In fact, the former Acting Director of the CIA, Mike Morrell, later 
conducted an investigation and cleared Ms. Haspel of any wrongdoing, 
and the special counsel who reviewed the matter closed the case without 
filing any charges.
  Would holding her responsible for drafting a cable at her boss's 
direction make any more sense than holding Senate staffers responsible 
for the boring speeches their bosses give on the Senate floor?
  Yes, I know there are political officials in the government who had 
expressed reservations about destroying those tapes, but no lawyer at 
any time, anywhere in the government, said there was a legal 
prohibition against their destruction. Moreover, there is a clear, 
written record of those very events.
  On these matters, it is not enough to express reservations. CIA 
officers in the field deserve a clear answer, yes or no.
  If anyone was to blame, it wasn't Ms. Haspel or her boss; it was 
politicians who didn't want to take the heat for a controversial 
decision either way.
  So what is really at issue here? What message will we send if we 
reject her nomination? Not that we oppose torture. That is silly. We 
all oppose torture. The United States does not torture, and it has 
never tortured, despite overwrought claims to the contrary.
  In fact, I would ask what message we will be sending to the men and 
women of the CIA if we don't confirm her or, for that matter, what 
message the overwhelming Democratic opposition to her nomination sends 
them. Does anyone doubt that if President Obama or a President Hillary 
Clinton had nominated Ms. Haspel, she would easily have received 80 or 
90 votes?
  The message, I would submit, is this: Be careful. If you participate 
in a program that the Commander in Chief has approved, that the 
Congress has been fully briefed on, that the Attorney General has 
legally authorized, and that the CIA Director supports, you still may 
land in the dock when a new President comes along with new lawyers. So 
maybe it is better to hide out at the Swiss desk.
  That is a recipe for a timid, hesitant intelligence community, and 
that is a risk to us all.
  I can tell you, Gina Haspel's skill and expertise are widely known 
and respected on both sides of the aisle. President Obama's former CIA 
Director, Leon Panetta, said that he was glad the President nominated 
Ms. Haspel because she ``knows the CIA inside-out.'' Another one of 
President Obama's CIA Directors, John Brennan, said that Ms. Haspel 
``has the experience--the breadth and depth--on intelligence issues.'' 
And former CIA Director Michael Hayden, who served under both 
Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, has called Gina Haspel a 
``great choice'' and ``highly regarded.'' These are just three of more 
than 50 former national security officials who signed a letter to the 
Senate Intelligence Committee supporting her nomination.
  As a member of that committee, I worked with Gina Haspel during her 
time overseas and as Deputy CIA Director, and I can attest to her 
professionalism, her work ethic and, most important, her character. 
This is a skilled, brave, patriotic woman who will serve our country 
with distinction in this most critical post. Her dedication to our 
country throughout her life is complete, and that is why I will be 
proud to cast my vote for the confirmation of Gina Haspel, and I urge 
all Senators to do the same.
  Thank you, Mr. President.
  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, yesterday the Senate Intelligence 
Committee voted Gina Haspel's nomination out favorably by a vote of 10 
to 5. It was a strong bipartisan vote. Of course, in just a few 
minutes, we will vote on her confirmation.
  Last week, during her confirmation hearing, she said repeatedly what 
those of us who had supported her for weeks already knew: She believes 
that U.S. Government actions must be held to a strict moral standard. 
If confirmed, she would not obey an order she believed to be unlawful, 
and in her new role, she pledged not to restart the interrogation 
programs inside the CIA. Of course, that could not happen without 
consultation and approval of Congress because the standard has 
literally changed since the immediate post-9/11 era.
  Based on her testimony, her record of service, and her exemplary 
character, it is clear that the only real option for the Intelligence 
Committee was to report her out favorably.
  Our colleagues on the other side who have objected to this nomination 
have an opportunity to join a couple of their Members who have already 
come on over and acknowledged that she is the best qualified nominee in 
the Agency's history.
  Our colleague, the senior Senator from Virginia and vice chairman of 
the Intelligence Committee, Mr. Warner, voted yesterday on Ms. Haspel's 
behalf. He praised her as an independent voice and found it noteworthy 
that she would be the first operations officer in more than five 
decades to lead the Agency.
  Generally speaking, you have analysts and you have the case officers 
who actually handle the cases and do the important intelligence-
gathering work from a human intelligence perspective at the Agency, and 
that is the work she has been involved in for more than 30 years. She 
would be the first officer in more than five decades to have that sort 
of experience and the credibility that goes along with it.
  The senior Senator from Virginia, Mr. Warner, is joined by the senior 
Senator from West Virginia, Mr. Manchin, who also sits on the Senate 
Select Committee on Intelligence, as well as the junior Senator from 
North Dakota and others. In other words, there are a number of 
Democrats now who have decided that it is not in the Nation's best 
interest to oppose President Trump's nominees just because they happen 
to be President Trump's nominees.
  Now I want to talk about some of the stated objections and why I 
don't believe they hold any water, but I am glad for this movement in 
the right direction, which will allow us to confirm her today.
  I appreciate all of our colleagues carefully examining Ms. Haspel's 
records. A number of people I have talked to about the nomination said 
they wanted to do their due diligence. Well, that is our job, and I 
don't believe any nominee should be rubberstamped. I know they have 
reviewed her record, and they have met

[[Page S2759]]

with her in person and drawn the only reasonable conclusion, I believe, 
which is that she is well qualified; that she loves the CIA, where she 
has worked for more than three decades; and that she will provide the 
Agency's objective, unbiased, and unvarnished intelligence to the 
President and other policymakers in the Federal Government.
  Her loyalty, of course, is not to a political party, after all, 
because she is nonpartisan, but she owes her loyalty to the American 
people, whose safety and security she has made her life's work.
  Comparisons have rightfully been drawn between the upcoming 
confirmation vote for Ms. Haspel and the 2013 confirmation vote of John 
Brennan, former Director of the CIA under President Obama. The vast 
majority of Democrats had no problem voting for Mr. Brennan, and so I 
believe they should have no problem voting for Ms. Haspel because, 
first of all, Mr. Brennan supports her. Of course, he was the No. 4 
person at the CIA during this period post-9/11 when the rendition, 
detention, and interrogation programs were carried out in full 
compliance with then-stated law from the highest legal authority 
available, the Office of Legal Counsel. We have also seen others in the 
Obama administration support Ms. Haspel as well.
  I have said it before, and I will say it again: Those people who know 
Ms. Haspel best, who have worked alongside of her on a daily basis in 
undisclosed locations around the world, doing the Nation's important 
work, like this woman, admire her, respect her, and think she is the 
best of the best.
  I speak for many when I say that we appreciate Ms. Haspel's 
willingness and desire to serve in this new and never-easy capacity. I 
hope we can confirm her in short order so she can get back to work and 
continue to do the work that she loves and that our Nation needs.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Vermont.
  Mr. LEAHY. Mr. President, the Senate has often been called the 
world's greatest deliberative body, where we can thoroughly and 
respectfully debate weighty matters, regardless of pressures imposed by 
any given moment. While we do not always live up to this ideal, it is 
one for which we should always strive. The Constitution entrusts us 
with the task of serving as a check against the executive branch, 
providing our advice and--if appropriate--our consent to the 
Executive's nominees to lead our government's most critical agencies. 
During my time here, at its best, the Senate can be and actually should 
be the conscience of the Nation.
  So as we move to vote on the nomination of Gina Haspel, with very 
little debate and gaping holes in her record, I fear the Senate is 
failing to fulfill its basic duty to provide advice and informed 
consent to her nomination. Remember, we are supposed to advise and 
consent, and worse yet, we are failing in our duty to serve as the 
Nation's conscience.
  Now much of what is publicly known about Ms. Haspel's role in the CIA 
is disturbing. To begin with--and I have listened to Senators on both 
sides--I do not question Ms. Haspel's commitment to our country or to 
our national security that, I think, she has established. But what I 
question is her judgment and her fidelity to a core value of our 
Nation: that all people have certain inalienable rights. Underlying 
these inalienable rights is our belief in the basic dignity of human 
beings, a dignity that is incompatible with inhumane practices like 
torture. Torture should never be part of America's way of leading the 
  During the height of the CIA's torture program, Ms. Haspel ran one of 
the Agency's most notorious ``black sites'' in Thailand. There, under 
her leadership, brutal torture techniques were employed. From available 
accounts, according to that which has been made public, this included 
waterboarding detainees, slamming them against walls, and confining 
them in coffin-shaped boxes for extended periods of time.
  At the time, there was a benign euphemism for this treatment. It was 
called ``enhanced interrogation techniques.'' But we know better. This 
wasn't ``enhanced interrogation techniques.'' This was government-
sanctioned torture, pure and simple. Torture is immoral. Torture is 
inhumane. Frankly, torture is un-American. I agree with our colleague 
Senator John McCain--he is one who speaks with a distinct moral clarity 
on this issue--that Ms. Haspel's refusal to condemn torture as immoral 
is disqualifying. For that reason alone, I cannot, in good conscience, 
support her nomination.
  But it is worse than that. Ms. Haspel also reportedly advocated for 
destroying the videotapes of these torture sessions--now, that was 
against the advice of the CIA's own lawyers. More than that, it was in 
contravention of a Federal judicial order requiring that they be 
preserved. The CIA's former general counsel said Ms. Haspel was one of 
the ``staunchest advocates . . . for destroying the tapes.'' 
Notwithstanding the advice of the CIA's lawyer, notwithstanding the 
federal judicial order, she claimed that destroying the tapes was 
necessary to protect the security of CIA officers conducting these 
  But that explanation withers under even the slightest scrutiny. If 
that were really the concern, then the CIA could easily have copied the 
tapes with the officers' faces blacked out and only then destroyed the 
originals. All of us are used to seeing news items with the faces of 
certain witnesses and others blacked out. Nor do we have access to the 
only independent account of Ms. Haspel's role in the destruction of the 
tapes--the Justice Department's Durham Report. I joined nine Senators 
on the Judiciary Committee in a request for access to the Durham 
Report, but our request has not been accommodated. As a result, we will 
not know the full story of the tapes' destruction before we are asked 
to vote on Ms. Haspel's nomination today.
  This is just what we know through public reports. There is much more 
the American people don't know about Ms. Haspel's actions because it 
remains classified. The American people have been kept in the dark in 
part because Ms. Haspel herself has been responsible for what 
information about her record is declassified. It is a brazen conflict 
of interest that Ms. Haspel can decide what to release and what to 
conceal about her past. The CIA has declassified glowing facts about 
Ms. Haspel's work with Mother Teresa, but refuses to disclose basic 
information that would shed light on her past actions and what values 
would guide her as CIA director. This process has been reduced to a 
  I have reviewed classified materials on Ms. Haspel's long career at 
the CIA, and I find these materials to be deeply disturbing. I am not 
able to discuss any of the details revealed in these materials, again, 
because Ms. Haspel has decided to keep them cloaked by classification. 
Candidly, I do not believe a Senator can provide his or her informed 
consent to this nominee without first reviewing these materials.
  Now, I recognize, and I must say I appreciate, that Ms. Haspel has 
committed to not allowing the CIA to resurrect the use of torture if 
she is confirmed. I also recognize that that commitment, while 
commendable, is not optional. Torture is illegal; that is simply what 
the law demands.
  But what about the next immoral action that this President might ask 
her to commit? Should we trust that she will have the moral compass to 
stand up and say ``no''? Based on what we have seen, I do not.
  The world is watching closely today. Our allies and our enemies--and 
our own future generations--will view this vote as nothing less than a 
referendum on torture. If the Senate--this body that I cherish--gives 
its blessing to a nominee who is synonymous with the CIA's 
interrogation program, then the demons of our past--from Abu Ghraib to 
the CIA's black sites--may haunt us anew.
  I do not believe that this blight on our history represents who we 
are or what we stand for. I really do not believe that this is the soul 
of America. But it is a terrible mistake. I believe we must clearly 
demonstrate that we are capable of learning from and moving beyond our 
darker chapters as a nation. If we make a mistake, we should admit it 
and take steps not to have it happen again. For that reason, I will 
vote no on Ms. Haspel's nomination.
  Mr. President, I do not see another Senator seeking recognition.

[[Page S2760]]

  I suggest the absence of a quorum.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The clerk will call the roll.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk proceeded to call the roll.
  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that the order for 
the quorum call be rescinded.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Without objection, it is so ordered.
  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. President, I rise today--
  (Disturbance in the Visitors' Galleries.)
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. There will be order in the Chamber.
  The Sergeant at Arms will restore order in the Chamber.
  (Disturbance in the Visitors' Galleries.)
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Sergeant at Arms will restore order in the 
  The Senator from Arizona.


  Mr. FLAKE. Mr. President, I rise today disturbed by the President's 
recent decision to consider easing penalties placed on the Chinese 
telecommunications company ZTE.
  Looking at ZTE's history of deception and dishonest business 
practices, it is deeply troubling to see these penalties cast aside so 
carelessly in pursuit of what appears to be a type of chaotic 
diplomatic improvisation that has become standard operating procedure 
with the administration.
  Let me briefly outline ZTE's past actions in order to refresh 
everyone's memory on how the company came to face such serious punitive 
  In 2016, the U.S. Department of Commerce concluded an exhaustive 
investigation, finding that ZTE had knowingly sold products made with 
American technology to Iran, North Korea, and other countries banned 
from receiving such technologies. ZTE violated these sanctions and 
engaged in a deliberate attempt to cover it up.
  Once ZTE's deception was uncovered, the Obama administration 
announced imminent implementation of export restrictions that would 
deprive ZTE of American technology crucial to the manufacturing of its 
  The threat of sanctions brought ZTE to agree to settle the matter, 
and one year later, ZTE signed a settlement, which included more than 
$1 billion in fines, the creation of audit and compliance requirements 
to avoid future violations, and a promise to punish those individuals 
involved in past violations.
  Last month, after ZTE was found to have violated the terms of the 
settlement and to have then sought to deceive the U.S. Government about 
those violations, the Commerce Department announced a 7-year ban on the 
export of U.S. components to ZTE.
  In essence, ZTE has repeatedly engaged in malign activity by 
deliberately misleading the government for years, all while attempting 
to deliver American technologies into the hands of State sponsors of 
terrorism. The instinct to punish ZTE for this behavior was the right 
  So it was puzzling to hear, as we did this past Sunday, that the 
President instructed the Commerce Department to find a way to ease that 
punishment. First the President tweeted that the restrictions needed to 
be eased because they would cost China too many jobs.
  It now appears that this concession is part of a deal that, if 
reached, would have the Chinese Government agree to remove tariffs on 
U.S. agricultural products. It must be noted that these are the same 
tariffs that China levied in retaliation for the steel and aluminum 
tariffs announced, and now being haphazardly applied, by this 
  Make no mistake, what we are witnessing here is a nascent trade war--
tariffs leading to tariffs leading to ill-advised concessions, 
haphazard exemptions, and so on and so on. Meanwhile, businesses suffer 
from increased uncertainty, our national security is threatened, and 
international allies find themselves dealing with an American foreign 
policy characterized only by chaos and unpredictability.
  Punitive measures like sanctions work only when they are consistently 
executed. How is any other nation meant to take threats of U.S. 
sanctions seriously when we enforce them some of the time and toss them 
aside other times when we feel like it? What does such unpredictability 
say to our allies about our ability to lead on global issues and our 
reliability as a partner in the future?
  We are making a mockery of the rules-based international order that 
we helped establish. Our foreign policy, whether it relates to trade or 
security, must be characterized by stability and predictability, not 
confusion and chaos.
  We are at our best when our allies and our adversaries know where we 
stand. Let us return to that standard.
  I yield the floor.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. The majority whip.
  Mr. CORNYN. Mr. President, I ask unanimous consent that 
notwithstanding rule XXII, the cloture vote on the Haspel nomination 
occur at this time; further, that if cloture is invoked, all 
postcloture time be yielded back and the Senate immediately vote on the 
nomination; and that if confirmed, the motion to reconsider be 
considered made and laid upon the table and the President be 
immediately notified of the Senate's action.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there objection?
  Without objection, it is so ordered.

                             Cloture Motion

  Pursuant to rule XXII, the Chair lays before the Senate the pending 
cloture motion, which the clerk will state.
  The senior assistant legislative clerk read as follows:

                             Cloture Motion

       We, the undersigned Senators, in accordance with the 
     provisions of rule XXII of the Standing Rules of the Senate, 
     do hereby move to bring to a close debate on the nomination 
     of Gina Haspel, of Kentucky, to be Director of the Central 
     Intelligence Agency.
         Mitch McConnell, Thom Tillis, James Lankford, John 
           Cornyn, Mike Crapo, Roy Blunt, John Hoeven, David 
           Perdue, Lindsey Graham, Pat Roberts, Johnny Isakson, 
           John Boozman, James E. Risch, John Thune, Todd Young, 
           Ron Johnson, Cory Gardner.

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. By unanimous consent, the mandatory quorum 
call has been waived.
  The question is, Is it the sense of the Senate that debate on the 
nomination of Gina Haspel, of Kentucky, to be Director of the Central 
Intelligence Agency, shall be brought to a close?
  The yeas and nays are mandatory under the rule.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The assistant bill clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senators are necessarily absent: the 
Senator from Arizona (Mr. McCain) and the Senator from Indiana (Mr. 
  Further, if present and voting, the Senator from Indiana (Mr. Young) 
would have voted ``yea.''
  The PRESIDING OFFICER (Mr. Cassidy). Are there any other Senators in 
the Chamber desiring to vote?
  The yeas and nays resulted--yeas 54, nays 44, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 100 Ex.]




     Cortez Masto
     Van Hollen

                             NOT VOTING--2

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. On this vote, the yeas are 54, the nays are 
  The motion is agreed to.
  Under the previous order, all postcloture time is expired.
  The question is, Will the Senate advise and consent to the Haspel 
  Mr. ROUNDS. I ask for the yeas and nays.

[[Page S2761]]

  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Is there a sufficient second?
  There appears to be a sufficient second.
  The clerk will call the roll.
  The legislative clerk called the roll.
  Mr. CORNYN. The following Senator is necessarily absent: the Senator 
from Arizona (Mr. McCain).
  The result was announced--yeas 54, nays 45, as follows:

                      [Rollcall Vote No. 101 Ex.]




     Cortez Masto
     Van Hollen

                             NOT VOTING--1

  The nomination was confirmed.
  The PRESIDING OFFICER. Under the previous order, the motion to 
reconsider is considered made and laid upon the table and the President 
will be immediately notified of the Senate's action.
  The majority leader.


[Congressional Record Volume 164, Number 81 (Thursday, May 17, 2018)]
[Page S2780]


  Executive nomination confirmed by the Senate May 17, 2018: