Heidi Heitkamp announced she would support Gina Haspel’s bid to lead the CIA Tuesday joining a few fellow Democratic senators who have likely sealed her confirmation.
In a statement, Heitkamp said she would vote to confirm Haspel as the director of the CIA but said it “was not an easy decision” and called her involvement in torture “deeply troubling.”
“However, Ms. Haspel explained to me that the agency should not have employed such tactics in the past and has assured me that it will not do so in the future,” Heitkamp added in her statement. “While I trust her word, I will also verify, helping to ensure Congress conducts robust oversight of the CIA under her leadership.”
Heitkamp’s announcement came soon after another Democratic senator, Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner, said he would support Haspel. Including Heitkamp, four Democrats have publicly supported President Donald Trump’s CIA pick, and the Washington Post said Haspel appeared to garner enough votes to land the job.
Republican Rep. Kevin Cramer, who is challenging Heitkamp this year, prodded her Monday to back Haspel.
“Being tough on terrorists is no reason to oppose,” he said on Twitter.
Haspel, a 33-year veteran of the agency, has been scrutinized for her role in its interrogation program, including her time supervising a secret facility in Thailand where an al-Qaeda suspect was waterboarded, according to the Post.
During her confirmation hearing last week, Haspel said she wouldn’t restart the interrogation program. This week, she went further, saying “the enhanced interrogation program is not one the CIA should have undertaken.”
Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D., will support Haspel as well, his office said.