The Intelligence Committee voted 10-5 to forward her nomination to the entire Senate, virtually assuring that she will earn final approval to lead the USA spy agency, replacing Mike Pompeo, who is now secretary of state.
Haspel now is all but assured to win confirmation in a vote before the full Senate that could come as early as Thursday.
In the letter, seen as an attempt to sway undecided Democrats, Haspel condemned the CIA's past torture program and said the decision to begin such a program "is not one the CIA should have undertaken" and promising not to restart any torture program at the agency.
A US report in 2014 said CIA interrogation techniques were ineffective
Harris says Haspel's unwillingness to share more detailed information about the CIA's use of enhanced interrogation techniques is "deeply troubling".
She ran a black-site prison in Thailand where a high-level terrorist was detained and tortured in 2002.
"This country has not held any officials accountable for the use of torture, so it's even more outrageous that the government is considering someone to the chief intelligence position in spite of her alleged participation in that clearly illegal and immoral activity", she said.
It will make Haspel, a 61-year-old Russian Federation specialist, the first-ever woman to lead the CIA, and the first director who spent their entire career in the agency's clandestine services. "The United States must be an example to the rest of the world, and I support that", Haspel said in a letter to Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee. "Ms. Haspel wants to elucidate the character and extent of her involvement within the CIA's interrogation program in the course of the affirmation course of". The only Senate Republicans who are not expected to vote for her are Kentucky's Rand Paul and Arizona's John McCain, who is battling cancer and is not expected to be present for the ballot.More news: Two Sherpa guides scale Nepal's Mount Everest, setting new records
Haspel's letter was requested by Sen.
Warner's support was matched by one other unnamed Democrat in the secret vote, ensuring the closely divided Senate will also be able to pass Haspel through in a vote expected to come before the end of the month. Her refusal to acknowledge torture's immorality is disqualifying.
In addition to Warner, Joe Donnelly of IN said Saturday that he made his decision after "a tough, frank and extensive discussion" with Haspel.
But not having caught the bigger fish yet is no excuse for throwing this one back, let alone promoting her to head the very organization under whose auspices she committed her crimes. The remaining five Democrats had already announced their opposition and did not change their minds.More news: Your Body Clock Is Linked To Risk Of Developing Mood Disorders
"While I won't condemn those that made these hard calls, and I have noted the valuable intelligence collected, the program ultimately did damage to our officers and our standing in the world", Haspel continued.
During his election campaign, Trump vowed resume waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning previously used by Central Intelligence Agency interrogators but now banned, and promised techniques "a hell of a lot worse".
McCain's warning resonated with several critics of the president, including his fellow Arizona Republican Sen. Susan Collins saying she would vote for Haspel's confirmation and Sen. McCain just isn't anticipated to be in Washington for Haspel's affirmation vote.More news: BT overhauls consumer business with bid to combine mobile and broadband