Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., says she'll vote to confirm Gina Haspel to lead the CIA.
Heitkamp, a Democrat, says in a statement it wasn't an easy decision and that Haspel's "involvement in torture is deeply troubling." But she says Haspel has assured her the CIA won't use such tactics in the future.
Heitkamp's announcement Tuesday came as the Senate Intelligence committee's top Democrat, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, said he would vote to confirm Haspel. Their support made it likelier she would be confirmed by the full Senate soon.
“It is particularly important that the director of the CIA puts the mission of the agency and our country’s security far above partisan politics and that the director be highly respected by agency rank and file. After meeting her and talking with former leaders in our intelligence community, I have concluded that Gina Haspel meets these standards. I am therefore planning to vote to confirm her as director of CIA,” Heitkamp said.
Rep. Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., who is challenging Heitkamp for her U.S. Senate seat in the upcoming fall election, also expressed support for Haspel.
"At this very crucial time for the United States to be a catalyst for historic changes on the world stage, President Trump and our nation need a true professional with decades of experience to head the CIA," Cramer said. "As director, she will serve the CIA and the Trump Administration with distinction. And the senators who oppose her are demonstrating either a misunderstanding of Haspel’s long tenure at the CIA or outright partisan politics."
The Associated Press contributed to this article.