Lindsey Graham says Mike Pompeo, Gina Haspel will be confirmed despite Rand Paul opposition

March 18, 2018 GMT

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said he thinks President Trump’s picks to lead the State Department and CIA will make it through the Senate, despite Sen. Rand Paul’s pledge to try and block the nominees.

Mr. Graham said CIA Director Mike Pompeo will make a suitable replacement for Rex Tillerson as secretary of state, since he shares Mr. Trump’s world view including a tough line against North Korea.

“He will get confirmed,” Mr. Graham told CNN’s State of the Union.

Mr. Paul, a libertarian-minded Republican from Kentucky, said he fears. Mr. Pompeo is a throwback to Republicans who advocated for “regime change” instead of diplomacy.

“Really, we need to see the world as it is,” Mr. Paul said.

Mr. Paul also said he would oppose Gina Haspel to take over for Mr. Pompeo at the CIA. Ms. Haspel has connections to the use of enhanced interrogation techniques for terrorist suspects used in wake of Sept. 11.


Ms. Haspel did not oversee the waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah at a “black site” prison in Thailand, Pro Publica reported Thursday, retracting a 2017 story that had made the claim.

Ms. Haspel did run the prison but arrived after the waterboarding of Zubaydah was done, the investigative news site now says.

Waterboarding, widely considered to be torture, is now prohibited as an interrogation technique by American agencies.

“I don’t think the person running that agency should be someone who ran a secret prison in Thailand,” Mr. Paul told CNN’s State of the Union.

Mr. Graham said he thinks Mr. Paul’s views on the nominations make him an “outlier” within the Republican Party, though he will vet Ms. Haspel closely, too, since the U.S. government no longer authorizes torture.

“I’m looking for her to acknowledge ether this behavior is no longer allowed,” Mr. Graham said.