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Gina Haspel confirmed as first woman CIA director

18 May 2018, 04:00 | Devin Moran

Senate confirms Gina Haspel to lead CIA, first woman to hold post

CIA-Nominee-Politics

The Intelligence Committee voted 10-5 to forward her nomination to the entire Senate, virtually assuring that she will earn final approval to lead the USA spy agency, replacing Mike Pompeo, who is now Secretary of State.

Supporters cited Haspel's 33-year career at the agency.

The 61-year-old Haspel, a Russian Federation specialist who spent her career in the clandestine service, becomes the first woman to lead the agency, taking over from Mike Pompeo, whom Trump recently made his secretary of state.

"Torture is torture. This issue has been settled, and anyone who's been involved should not be in a leadership position or leading anything in this country, especially the CIA", Hassan Jaber, the executive director of ACCESS, a Dearborn-based Arab American organisation, told MEE when Haspel was nominated in March.

But the Democrats backing Haspel have pointed to her endorsement from a wide range of former intelligence officials, including top Obama administration officials, as well as an acknowledgment in a Tuesday letter that she believed the interrogation program was damaging and shouldn't have been conducted, something she didn't say at her public hearing.

Her opponents said it wasn't right to promote someone who supervised a black site in Thailand.

Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, which oversaw the nomination, supported Haspel.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called President Donald Trump's choice of Haspel to lead the agency "the right woman at the right time".




Most GOP senators and six Democrats supported Haspel.

Republican Sen. John Cornyn said in a floor speech Thursday afternoon that the Senate would be voting soon.

Among Democrats supporting Haspel are several who are up for re-election this fall in states where Trump is popular, including Sen.

The US Senate on Thursday confirmed Gina Haspel as the next Central Intelligence Agency director, despite deep reservations among some lawmakers that her past involvement in the harsh interrogation of terror suspects was a red flag. "Gina Haspel advocated for torture".

Dianne Feinstein of California, who voted against Haspel, investigated the CIA's interrogation and detainment program for terrorists in 2014.

Haspel's nomination to lead the spy agency revived a debate on its now-banned torture program. Republican Sen. Jeff Flake, McCain's Arizona colleague, has said he's undecided. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Sen.

Veteran intelligence officials praised Trump's decision to name Haspel deputy director in February 2017, including former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

She was also widely panned for her and in the destruction of videotapes documenting the interrogation of an al-Qaeda suspect.



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