Gina Haspel confirmed as first female director of Central Intelligence Agency

Gina Haspel confirmed as first female director of Central Intelligence Agency

The Senate voted Thursday to confirm veteran CIA agent and Kentuckian Gina Haspel to be the first female director in the 71-year history of the agency.

Until recently, nearly nothing was known about Haspel, even after she rose to the top of the clandestine service in 2013 and then became deputy Central Intelligence Agency director past year.

Haspel, who will be the first woman to lead the CIA, is a 33-year veteran at the agency now serving as its acting director.

"I believe she is someone who can and will stand up to the President, who will speak truth to power if this President orders her to do something illegal or immoral, like a return to torture", he said in a Senate speech before the vote.

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".

"With the benefit of hindsight and my experience as a senior agency leader, the enhanced interrogation programme is not one the CIA should have undertaken", she said. During the nomination process, she had gained the support of six former CIA directors and three former national intelligence directors. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of IN and Bill Nelson of Florida.

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She is the first operations officer in more than five decades - and the first-ever woman - to be named to the role.

In the end, not even McCain's opposition could stop Haspel from being confirmed. Her refusal to acknowledge torture's immorality is disqualifying.

Opponents of her nomination included more than 100 retired admirals and generals, who said her role in the agency's use of torture would encourage foreign governments to torture American soldiers. They said they voted for Haspel because they thought her experience was essential in confronting today's threats from US adversaries like Russia, North Korea, China and Iran.

"She displayed the talent and expertise that make her uniquely qualified to face America's biggest national security challenges - whether in the area of counterterrorism or renewed global competition amongst great powers", McConnell said.

In the early 2000s, Haspel ran the United States" first "black site' (secret overseas prison) in Thailand, where she oversaw the torture of terror suspects Abu Zubayadah and Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri.

Supporters cited Haspel's 33-year career at the agency. John McCain, who urged senators to reject her. A group of 53 former intelligence officials wrote a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee conveying their strong support to Gina, Vox reported. "I also believe it is important to hold Gina Haspel's nomination to a similar standard as previous nominees for this position, particularly in regards to responsibility for the CIA's use of torture following the 9/11 attacks", Shaheen proclaimed.

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