Published: Fri, May 18, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Gina Haspel Confirmed by the Senate as First Female CIA Director

Gina Haspel Confirmed by the Senate as First Female CIA Director

The Senate confirmed Gina Haspel on Thursday as the first female director of the CIA following a hard nomination process that reopened an emotional debate about brutal interrogation techniques in one of the darkest chapters in the spy agency's history.

Rights groups had urged senators to block Haspel's nomination.

While Haspel was opposed by many Democrats, her years of service included time working with senior officials of President Barack Obama's administration.

A 33-year veteran of the CIA, Haspel will be the first woman to lead the agency and is now serving as its acting director.

Haspel's confirmation came less than an hour after she cleared a key procedural vote in the Senate by a vote of 54-45.

Haspel, the current deputy director, takes the helm at a time of shifting alliances and intelligence threats from Iran to North Korea to Russian Federation, unfolding after President Trump tried to cast doubt on the intelligence community's judgment as part of his broader attack on the investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election. Haspel, who worked more than three Decades as a covert agent, he will become first woman to lead intelligence agency.

They said the U.S. needs to close the book forever on the programme that marred America's image with allies overseas. He also pointed out that, as experience had shown, Central Intelligence Agency should not be engaged in questioning.

Among Democrats supporting Haspel are several who are up for re-election this fall in states where Trump is popular, including Sen. ProPublica had led the charge with an article claiming that Haspel enjoyed the torture of Zubaydah. Other Democrats voting yes were Sen.

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Senator Marco Rubio said: "With her unparalleled CIA experience, she will hit the ground running and continue to lead the world's finest intelligence agency". From beginning to end, the process was a cover-up to suppress information on the CIA's torture program.

He wondered aloud what Haspel would do if she's asked to do something that goes against America's core values. Her refusal to acknowledge torture's immorality is disqualifying. "Based on what we've seen, I do not".

U.S. Sen John Cornyn, R-Texas, was among her supporters. "Unfortunately, with this vote today the Senate chose to confirm a nominee who approved torture and destroyed evidence to hide these heinous acts from the American people", said Jim Cason, FCNL's Legislative Director for Foreign Policy. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Jeff Flake of Arizona voted no. McCain, himself a victim of torture while a prisoner of war in Vietnam, cited Haspel's involvement in the program as the reason he would have voted against her.

They said they voted for Haspel because they thought her experience was essential in confronting today's threats from USA adversaries like Russia, North Korea, China and Iran.

He said he worked closely with Haspel for almost seven years - until his retirement from the agency in 2013. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the panel.

A similar position was adopted by North Dakota Senator Heidi Heitkamp, who also faces an uphill battle for reelection this year. Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, and Sen. Bill Nelson in Florida. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire. On Tuesday, Warner said he would support Haspel's nomination.

Haspel reportedly ran the CIA's first overseas detention site in Thailand, where imprisoned militants were repeatedly waterboarded, The New York Times reported in February 2017.

"I believe she is someone who can and will stand up to the President if ordered to do something illegal or immoral - like a return to torture", Warner said in explaining his decision to vote for her.

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