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Dana Perino defended President Donald Trump's choice of Gina Haspel to lead the CIA.

Haspel, who is currently the deputy director under Mike Pompeo, has a distinguished decades-long career in public service, Perino said.

Perino, who served as press secretary for President George W. Bush, dismissed claims Haspel is unfit to lead the agency after overseeing a CIA enhanced interrogation site in Thailand after 9/11.

"Have we forgotten what it was like on the morning after 9/11?" Perino asked. "[Haspel] was actually following orders that were based on a lawful program asked for by [Bush]."

Perino also noted the program has since been discontinued and that three U.S. attorneys general have declined to prosecute agents involved in the program.

"[If critics] still want to pick at this scab and not allow a woman with an amazing record of public service to be able to serve, that really chaps my hide," Perino said.

She noted that Haspel has served in administrations of both parties, from that of Bush's father to President Barack Obama in recent years.

"[This] grandstanding is so despicable," she said.

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