South Dakota U.S. Senator Mike Rounds has not decided if he will vote to confirm CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel.
She testified in front of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Wednesday. Rounds says he's confident Haspel is qualified to lead the agency. But, he says some questions remain in advance of the confirmation vote. Rounds says those questions pertain to interrogations against terrorism suspects in the 2000s.
"What role did she have, and are we certain as to the extent that she was involved in the waterboarding events that did occur. Second of all, were there other areas that she was involved with - did she have a supervisory role, or was she following orders from someone above? What is her thought with regard to the use of torture by the CIA in the future? She's made that part very clear that she thinks that's wrong, and she would not be agreeable to doing that.”
Rounds says he wants to confirm that Haspel did not take part in destroying tapes of CIA agents using torture.
"The preponderance of the evidence we have right now says that she was not responsible. But, we just want to do our due diligence and make sure that's all confirmed. And, then along with that, there were other torture activities that occurred around the world, where apparently it was CIA operatives who were taking individuals suspected of terrorism and who apparently moved them around from location to location where torture was used or could be used. And, we just want to make sure that is not a part of anything she was involved with as well. It does not appear that she was, but I just want to do my due diligence."
Rounds says he expects Senators to vote on Haspel's nomination in the next few weeks. If Haspel is confirmed, she will become the first woman to lead the CIA.
Rounds On Potential SNAP Changes
The Senator says he's open to adding work requirements to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Funding and rules related to SNAP are a part of the Farm Bill. The U.S. House of Representatives plans to vote on the legislation later this month. The proposed change requires adults who can work to do so or take job training classes for 20 hours a week, starting in October 2020.
Rounds says he believes it's a good thing to add people to the workforce.
"I don't have a problem in asking people from going from welfare to work, within limits. I think it's a matter of whether or not we can explain to folks that moms with little kids aren't going to impacted by this, individuals with disabilities aren't going to be impacted by this. But, for able-bodied working adults, I think most Americans expect that they should go to work. And, if they need the assistance, great. But, you ought to work.”
Rounds says debate over work requirements for SNAP is often a part of Farm Bill discussions. He says the issue cannot get in the way of passing the legislation.