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Veteran spy Gina Haspel will develop into the primary feminine director of the CIA on Thursday after six Democrats joined Republicans in a Senate affirmation vote that overrode considerations about her position within the spy company’s harsh interrogation program after 9/11.

The 54-45 vote break up each events, and the margin was the closest for a CIA nominee within the almost seven a long time {that a} nod from the Senate has been required. Haspel, who has spent almost all of her 33-year CIA profession in undercover positions, is the primary profession operations officer to be confirmed since William Colby in 1973.

Haspel, 61, is a local of Kentucky however grew up all over the world because the daughter of an Air Force serviceman. She labored in Africa, Europe and categorized places across the globe and was tapped as deputy director of the CIA final yr. She labored below former CIA director Mike Pompeo till President Donald Trump moved him to secretary of state.

READ MORE: U.S. Senate panel approves Trump nominee Gina Haspel for CIA directorship

Haspel was backed by many within the CIA rank-and-file and was robustly supported by senior intelligence officers, together with six former CIA administrators and three former nationwide intelligence administrators, who stated she earned the possibility to take the helm of the nation’s premier spy company. National Intelligence Director Dan Coats stated Haspel has integrity and each frontline and government intelligence experience. “We salute Director Haspel, a trailblazer who today becomes the first woman to lead the CIA,” he stated.

Her opponents argued that it wasn’t proper to advertise somebody who supervised a covert detention website in Thailand the place terror suspects had been waterboarded, an interrogation method that simulates drowning. They stated the U.S. wanted to slam closed what was one of many CIA’s darkest chapters that tainted America’s picture with allies overseas.

Several senators stated Haspel was not forthcoming in answering questions on her position within the torture program or the CIA’s choice to destroy video-taped proof of the classes. They additionally had questions on her rejection of the now-banned methods.

WATCH: White House staffer’s feedback on McCain reignite debate on Trump’s proposed CIA chief






Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., stated in a ground speech that Haspel “offered up almost the classic Washington non-apology.” He requested how the Senate might take significantly Haspel’s “conversion on torture?”

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., stated the world was watching the affirmation vote, which he referred to as a “referendum on torture.” He stated the so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” the CIA used at black websites, together with slamming detainees in opposition to partitions and confining them in coffin-shaped containers, amounted to “government-sanctioned torture.”

Haspel has vowed by no means to restart such a program and says her “strong moral compass” would stop her from finishing up any presidential order she discovered objectionable. That was sufficient to coax some senators into the “yes” column. But Leahy stated he nonetheless questioned her judgment and lamented that she has by no means publicly condemned torture as “immoral.”

He questioned aloud what Haspel would do if she’s requested to do one thing that goes in opposition to America’s core values. “Should we trust that she will have the moral compass to stand up and say ’No?’” he requested. “Based on what we’ve seen, I do not.”

READ MORE: Following ‘torture’ controversy, Haspel says CIA received’t resume harsh interrogations

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., stated the nomination was not nearly Haspel, however the U.S. grappling with its previous errors.

“The bottom line is this: No one has ever been held accountable for the torture program and I do not believe those who were intimately involved in it deserve to lead the agency,” Feinstein stated earlier than casting her vote in opposition to Haspel.

Since Trump nominated Haspel, her affirmation has been clouded by debate over the CIA’s former interrogation program. A protester within the Senate customer gallery briefly disrupted speeches forward of the vote with shouts in opposition to the CIA.

WATCH: Gina Haspel guarantees to not restart harsh CIA interrogation program






Three Republicans opposed her: Sen. John McCain of Arizona, who’s battling most cancers and didn’t vote; Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky; and Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona.

Six Democrats, nevertheless, had been heartened by her pledge to by no means restart harsh interrogation packages, even when Trump requested. They stated they voted for Haspel as a result of they thought her expertise was important in confronting immediately’s threats from U.S. adversaries like Russia, North Korea, China and Iran.

Among Democrats supporting Haspel had been a number of up for re-election this fall in states the place Trump is standard, together with Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Sen. Bill Nelson in Florida. Also voting sure had been Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the rating member of the intelligence committee.

READ MORE: Donald Trump backs Gina Haspel for CIA head regardless of torture allegations

“This has not been an easy decision,” Warner stated, including that he’d met and talked with Haspel many occasions prior to now a number of weeks. He stated he’s satisfied that Haspel might and would stand as much as Trump, who has voiced assist for waterboarding and has stated “torture works.”

After the vote, human rights teams rapidly issued statements denouncing the affirmation and the now-defunct program.

“The Senate has now rewarded that atrocious conduct by promoting someone that reportedly administered it to lead one of the government’s most powerful agencies,” stated Daphne Eviatar at Amnesty International USA.

Note: “Previously Published on: 2018-05-17 19:38:46, as ‘Gina Haspel confirmed as first feminine director of CIA – National

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