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White House says Gina Haspel "100 percent" committed to confirmation hearing

CIA director nominee controversy

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied reports that President Trump's nominee to lead the CIA Gina Haspel might withdraw her nomination to lead the agency, saying that she is "100 percent committed" to going through with her upcoming Senate confirmation hearing.

"We think that acting Director Haspel is a highly qualified, uniquely positioned individual to lead the CIA," Sanders told reporters at the White House press briefing Monday.

Haspel faces her confirmation hearing Wednesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee, where she'll likely have to respond to tough questions relating to her experience with the CIA's enhanced interrogation program following 9/11 and her role in running a "black site" in Thailand, where high-level terrorist suspects were interrogated.

"We think all of the issues surrounding her record, her experience will be brought up, and we are fully confident in her ability to answer those questions," Sanders said.

The Washington Post reported Sunday that Haspel, seeking to avoid the potentially harsh hearing, had advised the Trump administration that she would withdraw her nomination. But Sanders asserted that the White House is "confident" in Haspel's abilities to answer any questions that may arise relating to her past.

"She is 100 percent committed to going through this confirmation process and being confirmed as the next leader of the CIA," Sanders said.

Sanders quoted former CIA directors Leon Panetta and Michael Hayden, as well as former deputy director of the CIA Michael Morell, who have all praised Haspel and support her nomination.

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