The Alabama GOP rebuked Sen. Doug Jones, the state’s Democratic senator, over his no vote on a CIA director nominee that has drawn the ire of senators from both parties.
Jones signaled through a statement this week that he would vote no on the CIA nominee Gina Haspel’s confirmation. His reasoning was mostly based on Haspel’s answer to the question of whether she thought an enhanced interrogation program was immoral.
“While her career has been impressive, Ms. Haspel’s role in programs that conducted torture is very troubling; her refusal to acknowledge the immorality of such conduct even today with the benefit of hindsight is even more so and reflects poorly on our nation’s reputation as a moral leader in the world,” Jones said through a statement.
The Alabama GOP, who have been critical of some of Jones’ moves while in the Senate, denounced the senator’s move.
Terry Lathan, chairman of the Alabama GOP, said that Haspel is a qualified candidate who is “deserving of a confirmation by the U.S. Senate.”
“In voting no to confirm Gina Haspel, Senator Jones is choosing to put partisanship over our nation’s security,” Lathan said. “Alabama voters will remember this when they head to the polls to choose their next U.S. Senator in 2020.”
Since Jones has taken office, the Alabama GOP has constantly reminded him of his pending election in 2020.
Jones narrowly won the seat in a Special Election in December after his opponent, former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, faced a great backlash for allegations of sexual misconduct and dating teenagers nearly four decades ago.
Haspel, however, will face a vote soon in the Senate, and it is clear that she will win a nomination despite the opposition of most of the Democrats and a few influential Republicans.
Sen. John McCain, Republican from Arizona, was the most prominent in his denouncement.
“I believe Gina Haspel is a patriot who loves our country and has devoted her professional life to its service and defense,” McCain said. “However, Ms. Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying.”
Haspel’s role in a secret prison in Thailand and her involvement with a controversial program that used enhanced interrogation techniques has become a linchpin of opposition for the nominee.The program, a product of post 9/11 policies, used techniques to interrogate prisoners that some advocates call torture.
One allegation is that Haspel destroyed video tapes of interrogations conducted on Al-Qaeda suspects.
When asked about the program, Haspel said she would not continue the program if confirmed as director. She reiterated that point in a letter to Virginia Democrat Sen. Mark Warner on Wednesday when she said the program should have never been conducted.
The Senate Intelligence Committee confirmed Haspel on Wednesday, and she will now go before the full Senate.