Human rights groups are lamenting the Senate confirmation of Gina Haspel to be CIA director because of her direct involvement in the spy agency's harsh detention and interrogation program.
The Senate has confirmed Gina Haspel as the first female director of the CIA following a rocky nomination process that reopened debate about one of the darkest chapters in the spy agency's history.
The most vulnerable of all Democratic Senators, West Virginia's Joe Manchin, who is campaigning for reelection in a state that overwhelmingly supported President Donald Trump in 2016, told his supporters that he supported Haspel because she was "an unbelievable public servant", who prioritizes the safety of America.
"Gina Haspel is among one of the most qualified people to be nominated to be director of the CIA", Warner said.
Senator Mark Warner, vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, cast the deciding vote.
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But Haspel secured enough votes to win confirmation with the backing of six Democrats, including Virginia Sen. "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". She reportedly considered dropping out of consideration.
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.
Republican Sen. John Cornyn said in a floor speech Thursday afternoon that the Senate would be voting soon.
The CIA's post-9/11 enhanced interrogation program that Haspel was involved with, as well as torture methods and waterboarding, have been contentious topics generally split along party lines. 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 U.S. intelligence 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.
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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.
Haspel has pledged not to implement an interrogation program of that kind again.
All eight Republicans and two of the seven Democrats on the Senate intelligence committee earlier expressed support for Haspel.
The attacks on Haspel's record made Trump administration officials nervous about her nomination, especially after Paul announced his opposition, which meant Democrats had the ability to block Haspel's confirmation. But several of her opponents pointed to the fact that the Justice Department's report from the special counsel who investigated the destruction of the tapes was available only to senators on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and not the full body.
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