Gina Haspel, the nominee for Central Intelligence Agency Director, pledged Wednesday the agency would not resume torturing, improving her chances of winning a Congressional nod.
"Under my leadership CIA will not restart such a detention and interrogation program," Haspel said in her opening statement at a Senate hearing, addressing one of the biggest skepticism against her.
Haspel, a career spy who spent 33 years in the CIA working mostly in the shadows, came under intense scrutiny regarding her past involvement with a Thai secret prison that was known to carry out "enhanced interrogation" methods, such as waterboarding or sleep deprivation.
Haspel's role in the destruction of the interrogation tapes was also called into question. She allegedly pushed for erasing evidence of the torturing and was able to persuade her superior in doing so.
Despite the tainted human rights record, Haspel insisted that she has "a strong sense of right and wrong."
The pledge to improve transparency has won at least one Democrat member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, a crucial gain which may clear the way for her nomination in the Senate.
"I have found Gina Haspel to be a person of great character," West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin, a conservative leaning Democrat, said in a statement.
U.S. President Donald Trump, a staunch supporter of Haspel's, tweeted that she had put on a "spectacular" performance.
Haspel, 61, was nominated by Trump in March after former CIA Director Mike Pompeo was nominated and later cleared as secretary of state. The vote on her nomination is yet to be scheduled.