Gina Haspel Confirmed as CIA Director

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The US Senate has approved the CIA's first female director, despite her role in the spy agency's post-9/11 interrogation programme, the BBC reports.

Haspel will succeed Mike Pompeo, who assumed the secretary of state role in April following his Senate confirmation.

He added: "However, in both our one-on-one meetings and in classified session before the Committee, I found Acting Director Haspel to be more forthcoming regarding her views on the interrogation program".

But with her past suddenly in the spotlight, she endured a contentious confirmation process during which lawmakers criticised her work following the 11 September 2001 attacks, when she oversaw a secret prison in Thailand.


A Senate Intelligence Committee voted 10-5 to endorse her as the next CIA director on Wednesday, paving the way for Thursday's vote. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of IN and Bill Nelson of Florida.

"I think she's a particularly disastrous choice, being one of the principal actors" in the torture program of the Bush administration, Alberto Mora, the former general counsel for the US Navy and a senior fellow at the Harvard's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, told Al Jazeera.

Among Democrats supporting Haspel were several up for re-election this fall in states where Trump is popular, including Sen. "Should we trust that she will have the moral compass to stand up and say 'No?'" he asked.

The vote Thursday broke down largely along party lines.


Earlier this month, Trump slammed the criticism of Haspel, saying she was being targeted "because she was too tough on Terrorists". Also in the midst of a fraught election year, Florida Senator Bill Nelson met with Haspel personally and said that he believed she would be fit to serve.

Paul had pause about voting for her because of the torture tactics. One mostly opposed by a majority of his Democratic colleagues. "I agree with many in the military and my friend and colleague Senator John McCain-the only United States Senator who understands torture in a way I hope no American will experience ever again -that the Central Intelligence Agency needs a leader who is willing to take a stand when the policies don't reflect our values".

"However, Ms. Haspel's role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing".

Supporters cited Haspel's 33-year career at the agency. Ron Wyden of OR, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on the Senate floor Thursday. More than 100 former US 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 USA behavior is "no different from ours".


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