Democrats, rights advocates are close to losing the battle over torture

But Haspel’s confirmation hearing may have been the last chance for the U.S. government to publicly explore the implications of the CIA’s dramatic departure from American traditions after 9/11. And that chance was largely missed.

Republicans on the committee, led by Chairman Richard Burr of North Carolina, said repeatedly that they had no interest in discussing the issue. Democrats, hampered by a five-minute limit on questioning, struggled to get answers.
“Ms. Haspel, what the committee must hear is your own view” of the program, Sen. Mark Warner, the ranking Democrat, said at the top of the hearing. “Most importantly, in your view — was the program consistent with American values?”

But Haspel repeatedly avoided answering that question. Nor would she say anything about what she did or what she observed. She did not acknowledge what John Brennan acknowledged when he was CIA director — that some agency officers had not “lived up to the high standards we set for ourselves,” referring to a string of abuses that exceeded Justice Department guidelines.

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