President Trump's pick to lead the CIA, Gina Haspel, was adamant throughout her confirmation hearing on Wednesday that she would not restart previous "enhanced interrogation" techniques used by the Agency in the aftermath of the attacks on 9/11. But in questioning from various senators, Haspel would not explicitly say if those past techniques were immoral or wrong.
"My parents gave me a moral compass, I would never ever take CIA back to an interrogation program," she told the committee. "CIA follows the law, we followed the law then, we follow the law today. I support the law, I wouldn't support a change in the law. But I would not put CIA officers at risk to undertake risky controversial activity again," she added.
Instead, Haspel repeatedly told lawmakers that she believes in the "stricter moral standard" outlined in the Army Field Manual.
"I think that we should hold ourselves to a stricter moral standard," she repeats. She said that her parents "raised her right" and that she knows the difference between right and wrong.
Under questioning by California Democratic Sen. Kamala Harris, Haspel again would not explicitly say if past techniques at the CIA were immoral.
"I believe that the CIA did extraordinary work to prevent another attack," she said.
Haspel also faced intense scrutiny for her role in helping order the destruction of dozens of videotapes documenting the post 9/11 interrogations years after they had concluded.
In her description of her role in the destruction of detainee video tapes, Haspel said there was great concern over the security risk post to officers featured in the videos. She explained that Jose Rodriguez, the former head of the CIA's Clandestine Service, alone made the decision to destroy the tapes.
The tapes, Haspel said, were 92 recordings of the interrogation of a single detainee. She herself has never watched the tapes, she told senators.
Haspel now faces lawmakers further questioning in a closed-door session where senators can ask classified questions about her role in the controversial programs.