CNN
Now playing
01:15
Clapper: Don't agree with McCain on Haspel
This March 21, 2017, photo provided by the CIA, shows CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel. Senate Democrats are demanding the CIA release more information about the ex-undercover operative President Donald Trump nominated to direct the spy agency. Democrats say Haspel no longer works undercover and the public has a right to know more about her involvement in the harsh interrogation of terror suspects after 9/11. The CIA has pledged to release more information, but it's not clear if it will share details Democrats seek to illuminate Haspel's clandestine work.(CIA via AP)
CIA
This March 21, 2017, photo provided by the CIA, shows CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel. Senate Democrats are demanding the CIA release more information about the ex-undercover operative President Donald Trump nominated to direct the spy agency. Democrats say Haspel no longer works undercover and the public has a right to know more about her involvement in the harsh interrogation of terror suspects after 9/11. The CIA has pledged to release more information, but it's not clear if it will share details Democrats seek to illuminate Haspel's clandestine work.(CIA via AP)
Now playing
00:52
Meet the first female CIA director
Gina Haspel testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on her nomination to be the next CIA director in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on May 9, 2018. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)        (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images
Gina Haspel testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on her nomination to be the next CIA director in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC on May 9, 2018. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Now playing
01:17
Senator to Haspel: Where was your moral compass?
phil mudd 05092018
CNN
phil mudd 05092018
Now playing
01:22
Mudd slams senators over Haspel interrogation
CIA nominee Gina Haspel is sworn in during a confirmation hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, May 9, 2018 in Washington. (AP/Alex Brandon)
Alex Brandon/AP
CIA nominee Gina Haspel is sworn in during a confirmation hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, May 9, 2018 in Washington. (AP/Alex Brandon)
Now playing
02:33
Haspel balks on morality of torture program
SEN. Intel Cmte Hrng: Haspel Nomination to be CIA Director  Witness Camera
pool
SEN. Intel Cmte Hrng: Haspel Nomination to be CIA Director Witness Camera
Now playing
01:03
Haspel: I will not restart torture programs
SEN. Intel Cmte Hrng: Haspel Nomination to be CIA Director  Witness Camera
pool
SEN. Intel Cmte Hrng: Haspel Nomination to be CIA Director Witness Camera
Now playing
00:55
Protesters disrupt Haspel's nomination hearing
Pool
Now playing
01:41
White House: Haspel committed to confirmation
On March 13th, President Donald Trump announced that Gina Haspel was his pick to become the new Director of the CIA.
CIA
On March 13th, President Donald Trump announced that Gina Haspel was his pick to become the new Director of the CIA.
Now playing
01:38
WaPo: Haspel sought to withdraw CIA nomination
Gina Haspel, center, speaks to Jared Kushner before a meeting between Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Mohammed bin Salman at the Pentagon in March 2017.
pool
Gina Haspel, center, speaks to Jared Kushner before a meeting between Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis and Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince and Minister of Defense Mohammed bin Salman at the Pentagon in March 2017.
Now playing
02:24
Destroyed tapes haunt Trump CIA pick
CNN
Now playing
01:51
Obama's CIA chief defends Trump's pick
CIA
Now playing
02:03
Clapper: Haspel highly respected, good for CIA
SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images
Now playing
01:04
Gina Haspel nominated to be CIA director
On March 13th, President Donald Trump announced that Gina Haspel was his pick to become the new Director of the CIA.
CIA
On March 13th, President Donald Trump announced that Gina Haspel was his pick to become the new Director of the CIA.
Now playing
01:42
CIA facing questions over Gina Haspel tweets
(CNN) —  

Sen. John McCain called on the Senate to reject Gina Haspel’s nomination to be the director of the CIA, citing her refusal in testimony on Wednesday to acknowledge “torture’s immorality.”

“I believe Gina Haspel is a patriot who loves our country and has devoted her professional life to its service and defense,” the Arizona Republican said in a statement Wednesday evening.

“However, Ms. Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying. I believe the Senate should exercise its duty of advice and consent and reject this nomination,” his statement continued.

McCain serves as the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, but is currently in Arizona, where he is being treated for brain cancer and is not expected to be present for the vote on Haspel’s nomination.

Haspel was tapped by President Donald Trump to take the place of now-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who had been heading the CIA prior to the departure of former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Despite having spent her career with the CIA, Haspel’s nomination has been considered somewhat controversial because of her involvement in the George W. Bush administration’s interrogation program after 9/11. Her role in the program was addressed several times during her confirmation hearing, but she told the senators that under her watch, she would not allow the CIA to resume interrogations.

“I would not allow CIA to undertake activity that I thought was immoral, even if it was technically legal,” Haspel said. “I would absolutely not permit it.”

However, Haspel declined to criticize the agency for its past techniques, like waterboarding, which critics say amounted to torture.

“I’m not going to sit here with the benefit of hindsight and judge the very good people who made hard decisions who were running the agency in very extraordinary circumstances at the time,” Haspel said.

McCain said her testimony “failed to address” concerns over her involvement and the US’ previous tactics used on prisoners after the 9/11 terror attacks.

“Like many Americans, I understand the urgency that drove the decision to resort to so-called enhanced interrogation methods after our country was attacked,” McCain said. “I know that those who used enhanced interrogation methods and those who approved them wanted to protect Americans from harm. I appreciate their dilemma and the strain of their duty. But as I have argued many times, the methods we employ to keep our nation safe must be as right and just as the values we aspire to live up to and promote in the world.”

McCain was held as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, where he was tortured, and has been a vocal critic of the US’ use of torture. In November 2017, he opposed Steven Bradbury’s nomination for general counsel of the Department of Transportation because of his involvement in the “torture memos,” which outlined a legal justification for various interrogation techniques, like waterboarding.

CNN reported earlier Wednesday that several Republican senators remained undecided on how they would vote but Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was opposed to her nomination.

CNN’s Lauren Fox and Jeremy Herb contributed to this report.