The nomination has nonetheless generated sharp tensions within the United States military and intelligence apparatus.
You remember "Bloody Gina" Haspel. If the alternative to Ms. Haspel is another intelligence professional who isn't marred by involvement in torture and the destruction of evidence, then it is hard to see why wavering senators would want to stick their necks out to vote for her. She was my boss in the CIA's Counterterrorism Center (CTC).
I chose to go another direction.
"Given that Trump chose to do that, it's critical that there be this conversation", Bloche said in an interview.
Before the hearing, a small group of protesters started shouting, "Say no to torture".
In December 2007, I made a decision to go public.
"In the first torture program's aftermath, a new and untested president insisted that Americans "....look forward as opposed to looking backward" on the US torture program. My son and I lived in fear in Libya for years. If she didn't, she should swear under oath that the C.I.A. under her command will never again carry out abductions like mine. The torture left both of them severely damaged, both psychologically and physically, while producing no known intelligence. Other CIA officers rose through the ranks by defending, perpetuating and promoting a program the Senate found to be ineffective, mismanaged and consistently misrepresented. And the Washington chattering class has jumped on the bandwagon. "I would never, ever take Central Intelligence Agency back to an interrogation program", she said. "But she understands Russian Federation". We need to understand not only what she did and why but what her views are on torture going forward. It will be hard for the people who work for her to hear that. Let that sink in.
The run-up to today's hearing has seen a concerted campaign within the corporate media to promote Haspel's nomination.
In 2015, expert Dr Sondra Crosby concluded that "there is no question that Mr Al-Nashiri was tortured at the hands of the CIA". "And you can destroy the evidence as well".
Many Democrats have signaled they'll wait for Wednesday's hearing before weighing in - at least publicly. Her actions on torture ought to be disqualifying. Ron Wyden, a senior Democrat on the committee, said he expects the most crucial portions of Haspel's confirmation hearing will be conducted behind closed doors, which he said sets a unsafe precedent. More than 50 former top national-security and intelligence officials - including vocal Trump critics - have expressed support for Haspel, who would be the first female CIA director.
"The secrecy inherent in the CIA's work demands that the Director honor and follow the law - particularly in the dark spaces where the Intelligence Community often operates, and when the glaring light of public scrutiny is nonexistent", said Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va.
The real danger, though, is elsewhere. Boris Johnson, the British foreign secretary, is keeping up Europe's pressure on Trump to remain in the deal with a visit to Washington and a New York Times op-ed. "The question is are there Democrats that will vote for her?" No Democrats have announced support for Haspel so far. She should expect him to vote in favor of her nomination. Trump has called those investigations a "witch hunt". Thune said Haspel "enjoys broad support among Republicans". Arizona's Jeff Flake, Maine's Susan Collins and Tennessee's Bob Corker are undecided. McCain asked. The 81-year-old spent more than five years being tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam. He knows what it does to a person. I'm not optimistic, though. It makes me sick even to say it. And I would fight like hell Mr. Trump's loathsome attempts to profit politically from his advocacy of torture.