Senate confirms Gina Haspel as Central Intelligence Agency director

Senate confirms Gina Haspel as Central Intelligence Agency director

Senate confirms Gina Haspel as Central Intelligence Agency director

But Haspel faced a barrage of criticism from some Democrats and human rights groups after she was picked in March to succeed Mike Pompeo as the nation's top spy, over her role in the George W. Bush administration's detention and interrogation program.

Several senators said Haspel was not forthcoming in answering questions about her role in the torture program or the CIA's decision to destroy videotaped evidence of the sessions.

Baldwin had not stated her position on Haspel until Thursday, after her confirmation became all-but certain following 10-5 committee approval.

Before voting began, McConnell said Haspel "demonstrated candor, integrity, and a forthright approach" throughout the confirmation process and "has quietly earned the respect and admiration" of intelligence community leaders at CIA headquarters and overseas. "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".

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The senator has served on the Senate Armed Services Committee and has been an ally of McCain, who urged his colleagues recently to reject Haspel's nomination.

Republican Sen. John Cornyn said in a floor speech Thursday afternoon that the Senate would be voting soon. Mark Warner of Virginia and Sen. New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen said that she was satisfied with Haspel's acknowledgment that the CIA's "enhanced interrogation program" harmed moral leadership and wouldn't be used again.

Democrats who backed Haspel pointed to her 33-year CIA career, 32 years of which was spent undercover, as well as her broad support from former intelligence officials, including many senior Obama administration officials.

The criticism came on two fronts: Haspel ran a Central Intelligence Agency black site in Thailand in 2002 where detainees were brutally interrogated with tactics that critics say is torture.

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"I would not restart, under any circumstances, an interrogation program at CIA", Haspel testified.

All eight Republicans and two of the seven Democrats on the Senate intelligence committee earlier expressed support for Haspel.

Haspel's nomination to lead the spy agency revived a debate on its now-banned torture program.

State Sen. Leah Vukmir has refused to apologize for the claim. 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".

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The CIA did make classified materials about Haspel's record available to senators. The remaining five Democrats had announced their opposition.

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