Leon Panetta, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency, offered support for President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the agency, Gina Haspel.
"I'm glad that they have a first woman as head of CIA, and I'm glad that it's Gina, because frankly, she is someone who really knows the CIA inside and out," Panetta said on CNN's "New Day."
The choice of Haspel has been subject to criticism because of Haspel's role in the CIA's interrogation and detention program. The 30-year CIA veteran ran a CIA "black site" interrogation center in Thailand in 2002 and later played a role in the CIA's destruction of tapes that had been made of terror detainees' interrogation sessions, CNN reported.
"I would hope the Senate would look at her entire record. She was a good officer. She served the CIA well," Panetta said.
Panetta, who led the CIA for two years during the Barack Obama administration, said that interrogation practices should be noted in the context of that time period, which was after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks.
"When we had 9/11, people were very concerned about what attacks would occur next. There was a lot of effort to try to see if we could determine where terrorists were located. And I understand the mentality at the time," Panetta said on CNN.
"I think we just need to think about that time and the way we approach the threat to the country," Panetta said.
"Just judge that and look at her entire record, that's all I ask," Panetta said.
Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Sen. Richard Burr, R-N.C., said he looked forward to supporting Haspel's nomination.
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