Kentuckian confirmed as first female Central Intelligence Agency director

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

The US Senate voted 54-45 in favor of Gina Haspel's nomination on Thursday, making her the first woman to head the Central Intelligence Agency.

Gina Haspel, who is the first female director, was confirmed by the US Senate despite severe opposition due to her involvement and oversight of the intelligence agency's torture, detention and interrogation programmes.

She was nominated after former CIA Director, Mike Pompeo, was selected by President Trump to fill the Secretary of State position left open by Rex Tillerson.

Beyond Donnelly, Heitkamp, Manchin, and Nelson, who will be targeted relentlessly by Trump and GOP forces regardless of their vote for Haspel, there were two Democratic senators who tokenized Haspel and were proud to overlook her torture past because they could say they backed the First Woman CIA Director Ever. Kamala Harris (D-CA) at her confirmation hearing last week, Haspel declined to say whether she would recuse herself from that role but insisted she had not interfered with standard agency declassification processes. Although Haspel had robust backing from former intelligence, diplomatic, military and national security officials her hard stand on terrorism and support of brutal interrogation techniques complicated her nomination. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Sen. "My questions about Ms. Haspel's role in the destruction of videotapes relevant to discussions occurring in Congress regarding the program have not been adequately answered".

Most of the Democratic votes in favor of Haspel came from senators who are up for re-election in November in states that Trump won in 2016, including Sens.

"For more than a decade, the United States has failed to ensure truth, accountability, and access to remedy for victims of official U.S. torture and enforced disappearance".

The American Civil Liberties Union attacked Haspel's confirmation as "a complete disgrace to our democracy".

Warner argues that the notorious torturer could be a moral voice against the Trump administration, which appointed her. John McCain (R-AZ), who is home receiving treatment for brain cancer, was not able to vote.

Tortured himself while a prisoner of war in Vietnam, McCain said approving Haspel would send the wrong message, and the country should only use methods to keep itself safe "as right and just as the values we aspire to live up to and promote in the world".

This, however, did not deter the handful of Democrats from voting to confirm her.

Haspel once oversaw a so-called black site in Thailand after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks in the US. 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".

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

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