Several unidentified senior US officials told The Washington Post that Haspel was worried that the increasing scrutiny over her role in the agency's interrogation program would tarnish her reputation and that of the CIA, the newspaper reported on Sunday.
According to the officials, Haspel offered to step aside when she was summoned to the White House on Friday to face questions on her involvement in the CIA's controversial interrogation program that employed techniques, including waterboarding, widely condemned as torture.
She was reassured by staffers, however, that her nomination was still on track and was talked out of withdrawing. By Saturday afternoon, she was said to have pledged to continue with her nomination.
CBS News, citing former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell and former CIA Director Gen. Michael Hayden, said on Friday Haspel told Senators in private meetings that she would "never let the CIA restart an interrogation and detention program" if she was confirmed to officially head the agency.
Haspel's nomination has been publicly supported by many lawmakers, including Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) who headed the Senate committee that released the infamous CIA torture report against her.
Feinstein told reporters in March that she hoped that the agency learned its lessons and noted that Haspel was "a good deputy director of the CIA."