WASHINGTON – The US Senate confirmed Gina Haspel on Thursday to be director of the CIA, ending a bruising affirmation struggle centered on her ties to the spy company’s previous use of waterboarding and different brutal interrogation methods.
Haspel, who would be the first girl to guide the CIA, is a 33-year veteran on the company at the moment serving as its appearing director. The tally was 54-45 in favor of her nomination within the 100-member chamber, the place a easy majority was required for affirmation.
Six Democrats joined President Donald Trump‘s fellow Republicans in voting for Haspel, and two Republicans voted no.
Haspel was authorised regardless of stiff opposition over her hyperlinks to the CIA’s use of harsh interrogation strategies, together with waterboarding, a kind of simulated drowning broadly thought-about torture, within the years after the Sept. 11 assaults.
An undercover officer for many of her CIA profession, Haspel in 2002 served as CIA station chief in Thailand, the place the company carried out interrogations at a secret jail utilizing strategies together with waterboarding. Three years later, she drafted a cable ordering the destruction of videotapes of these interrogations.
Republican Senator John McCain, who has been away from Washington all 12 months as he battles mind most cancers, urged the Senate to not vote for Haspel. He didn’t vote on Thursday.
Tortured himself whereas a prisoner of conflict in Vietnam, McCain mentioned approving Haspel would ship the fallacious message, and the nation ought to solely use strategies to maintain itself secure “as proper and simply because the values we aspire to stay as much as and promote on the planet.”
Haspel additionally had sturdy assist from Trump‘s administration, many present and former intelligence officers and a variety of lawmakers, together with Democrats.
Senator Mark Warner, the highest Democrat on the Intelligence Committee, which oversaw the nomination, supported Haspel.
“I consider she is somebody who can and can stand as much as the president, who will communicate fact to energy if this president orders her to do one thing unlawful or immoral, like a return to torture,” he mentioned in a Senate speech earlier than the vote.
Rights teams rapidly condemned the vote. Laura Pitter of Human Rights Watch known as it “the predictable and perverse byproduct of the US failure to grapple with previous abuses.”
Trump nominated Haspel, then deputy director, in March to succeed Mike Pompeo as CIA director. Haspel grew to become appearing director after Pompeo was confirmed as secretary of state.