Senate Confirms Gina Haspel As CIA Director

Senators Maggie Hassan and Jeanne Shaheen at an NHPR forum in January 2018

The U.S. Senate has approved Gina Haspel to be director of the CIA, despite her role in the spy agency's past use of brutal interrogation techniques.

Democratic senators grilled Haspel on these events at her confirmation hearing before the Senate intelligence committee on May 9.

Haspel was undercover for her first 32 years at the agency, a status lifted just last year when she became deputy director to Pompeo.

On Tuesday, Haspel said that with the benefit of hindsight and her experience as a senior agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one that the CIA should have undertaken.

The committee voted 10 to 5 to recommend Haspel to the full Senate.

Five Democrats have announced that they will vote to confirm Haspel. "She has acted morally, ethically, and legally, over a distinguished 30-year career and is the right person to lead the Agency into an uncertain and challenging future". State Attorney General Josh Hawley supported Haspel's confirmation and accused McCaskill of taking "the liberal party line", though she cited GOP Sen.

Republican Senator John McCain, who has been away from Washington all year as he battles brain cancer, urged the Senate not to vote for Haspel.

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McConnell steered the confirmation swiftly past opponents, including the ailing Republican Sen.

The committee voted 10-5 in Haspel's favor on Wednesday, paving the way for her expected confirmation to become the first woman to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.

One was in 2002, when she ran a black site prison in Thailand where officers carried out waterboarding and other harsh tactics to extract information out of suspected al-Qaida militants. But the Senate has just confirmed that it will tolerate rot at our government's core by elevating someone linked to those atrocities to now lead the United States intelligence agency.

Haspel has pledged not to implement an interrogation program of that kind again.

Number two Senate Republican John Cornyn said Haspel is well-liked within the CIA, and will provide "objective, unbiased, and unvarnished intelligence" to the president and policymakers. More than 100 former USA ambassadors who served both Republican and Democratic presidents sent the Senate a letter opposing Haspel, saying that despite her credentials, confirming her would give authoritarian leaders around the world the license to say US behavior is "no different from ours".

"She has earned the respect of the agency workforce, of her peers, of Republicans, of Democrats, of military officers, of civilian security leaders, evidenced by the number of letters received in support of her nomination too numerous to read", Burr said on the Senate floor.

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