“This nomination is bigger than one person. The torture program was illegal at the time based on international treaties. ...I believe those who were intimately involved should not lead the agency," Feinstein said in a statement, according to presstv.ir.
She stated that the "CIA’s Rendition, Detention and Interrogation Program is one of the darkest chapters in our nation’s history and it must not be repeated."
"For the Senate to confirm someone so involved with the program to highest position at the CIA would in effect tell the world that we approve of what happened, and I absolutely do not," added Feinstein, who is a former chairwoman and current member of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
In 2014, speaking on the Senate floor, Feinstein accused the CIA of spying on Senate staffers and compiled a report on the spy agency’s “enhanced interrogation” techniques.
Under Feinstein’s leadership, the Senate Intelligence Committee released the report about CIA's brutal detention and interrogation program and its use of various forms of torture on detainees between 2001 and 2006 during the so-called war on terror.
The report concluded that the spy agency’s interrogation methods were far more brutal and less effective than what the agency had publicly acknowledged.
The report also said that not a single terrorist attack was foiled as a result of the use of the so-called harsh interrogation techniques.
Haspel, a black ops veteran who joined the CIA in 1985, was once in charge of a clandestine interrogation operation in Thailand accused of torturing detainees.
President Trump nominated Haspel, 61, to lead the top US spy agency, after he tapped current CIA director Mike Pompeo to be secretary of state.
If approved by the Senate, Haspel would become the first woman ever to be director of the CIA.
Progressive groups are fighting back against Haspel’s nomination, saying her involvement in the CIA’s torture program should “disqualify her” from the top position.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said Haspel was “up to her eyeballs in torture, both in running a secret torture prison in Thailand and carrying out an order to cover up torture crimes by destroying videotapes.”
After his inauguration in January last year, Trump was reportedly preparing an executive order to reopen the overseas “black site” prisons, where the CIA held terrorist suspects before former President Barack Obama closed them. But later on the president backed off the draft executive order.
Haspel had worked in a number of overseas posts, including as chief of a major CIA station, and served as the acting head of the National Clandestine Service in 2013 before Senator Dianne Feinstein of the intelligence committee blocked her permanent promotion to that job.
President Trump has said he is considering reinstating the use of torture, including the banned interrogation technique of waterboarding against terrorist suspects.