Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.), during a Wednesday hearing, asked CIA director nominee Gina Haspel if someone like her was not able to be confirmed because of partisan opposition, who could be confirmed?
"Miss Haspel, you embody everything that I respect and admire of the men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency, and I support you not just because of your qualifications, but because I want a young CIA trainee or case officer, I want today's operational officers, I want today's station chiefs, I want today's–all of these professionals–to know that they, too, can one day be sitting where you are sitting today and have the opportunity to lead this agency," Rubio said. "And I would ask, if someone like you, with your history, with your record of service and sacrifice and excellence, if someone like you cannot be confirmed to head this agency, then who can?"
Rubio continued to question what message it would send to younger CIA officers if Senate Democrats continued to smear someone like herself.
"And if someone like you is smeared in this process, what message are we sending to young men and women who today are serving our country in the same roles in which you have served our country over the last 30 years? And I thought it was important for that to be part of the record today, because as much as anything else, this hearing is not just about your nomination. For me, it is also about all the men and women who serve us," Rubio said.
A majority of Democrats are expected to oppose Haspel's nomination.
The mastermind of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, asked permission this week from a military judge to share information about Haspel with the Senate Intelligence Committee.
President Donald Trump nominated Haspel in March to replace now Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to lead the CIA. If confirmed, Haspel would be the first woman to lead the agency.