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Republican Twitter feud: Meghan McCain and Liz Cheney spar over Trump pick

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Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Meghan McCain quarreled on Twitter over the nomination of a deputy CIA director who had overseen controversial interrogation techniques by the CIA. (Image Source: YouTube screenshot composite)

A Twitter feud erupted between two branches of Republican dynasties after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) criticized the nomination of Gina Haspel over the issue of enhanced interrogation techniques used by the CIA.

Here's how it went down

McCain tweeted his concern Tuesday about Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel being nominated to be President Donald Trump's CIA director.

"The torture of detainees in U.S. custody during the last decade was one of the darkest chapters in American history," he tweeted. "The Senate must do its job in scrutinizing the record & involvement of Gina Haspel in this disgraceful program."

In the link to a statement from his office, McCain elaborated on his concerns.

"During his own confirmation proceedings for Director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo repeatedly committed that he would comply with the law that applies the Army Field Manual’s interrogation requirements to all U.S. agencies, including the CIA," the statement read. "The American people now deserve the same assurances from Gina Haspel, whose career with the agency has intersected with the program of so-called ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ on a number of occasions."

"The torture of detainees in U.S. custody during the last decade was one of the darkest chapters in American history," he concluded. "Ms. Haspel needs to explain the nature and extent of her involvement in the CIA’s interrogation program during the confirmation process. I know the Senate will do its job in examining Ms. Haspel’s record as well as her beliefs about torture and her approach to current law."

McCain was no doubt remembering his own experiences being tortured at the hands of the Viet Cong after he was captured during the Vietnam War. Defenders of the CIA interrogation techniques have bristled at the comparison, however, as communist torture was brutally implemented while interrogation was monitored and legally approved.

Cheney defends CIA interrogation

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) objected to his representation of the interrogation used by the CIA during the tenure of her father, Dick Cheney, as Vice President.

"The Enhanced Interrogation Program saved lives, prevented attacks, & produced intel that led to Osama bin Laden," she replied to McCain. "The techniques were the same as those used on our own people in the SERE program." SERE stands for "Survival, Evasion, Resistance, and Escape" training used by the Navy.

"No one should slander the brave men & women who carried out this crucial program," she added.

"My father doesn’t need torture explained to him," Meghan McCain icily responded.

"This is a proxy war," said former Fox News host Greta Van Susteren of the Twitter exchange. "Both love their fathers."

The controversy over Haspel's nomination is sure to bubble over at the confirmation hearing where Democrats and Republicans are bound to rehash the debate over enhanced interrogation techniques.

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