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Gina Haspel confirmed as first female Central Intelligence Agency chief despite interrogation row

Gina Haspel confirmed as first female Central Intelligence Agency chief despite interrogation row

Haspel briefly ran a secret CIA prison where accused terrorists Abu Zubayadah and Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri were waterboarded in 2002, according to former USA intelligence officials. Republicans hold a slim 51-49 majority in the Senate, so opposition from three Republicans would have defeated Haspel if no Democrats had supported her.

Paul called Haspel an "acolyte" for former CIA Director John Brennan under former President Barack Obama and said he voted against her because he did not receive enough information about Haspel's potential role in the surveillance of Trump during the 2016 campaign season.

"I believe Gina Haspel is a patriot who loves our country and has devoted her professional life to its service and defense", McCain said in a statement May 9. On Tuesday, Warner said he would support Haspel's nomination.

Tortured himself while a prisoner of war in Vietnam, Mr McCain said approving Ms 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". "Her confirmation is also historic because she will be the first woman to lead the agency".

Haspel's confirmation came less than an hour after she cleared a key procedural vote in the Senate by a vote of 54-45. Republican John McCain was absent.

Haspel has been criticized for supervising a Central Intelligence Agency black site in Thailand where detainees were brutally interrogated, as well as for her role in the destruction of Central Intelligence Agency interrogation tapes.

Haspel's nomination to lead the spy agency revived a debate on its now-banned torture program.

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Ahead of voting, McConnell said Haspel "demonstrated candor, integrity, and a forthright approach" throughout the confirmation process and "has quietly earned the respect and admiration" of intelligence community leaders at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, and overseas.

Democrats who opposed Haspel's confirmation focused on the interrogation program.

He asked how the Senate could take seriously Haspel's "conversion on torture". Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Sen.

Haspel's supporters cited her 33-year career at the agency. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Sen.

"I am sure that she will be for Director Pompeo what Steve Kappes was for me - a trusted friend, lieutenant and guide to the sometimes opaque corridors of American espionage", Hayden said.

Haspel has received several prestigious awards, including the George H.W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism, the Donovan Award, the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal and the Presidential Rank Award, which recognizes individuals for "exceptional performance over an extended period of time", according to the CIA.

She was also widely panned for her and in the destruction of videotapes documenting the interrogation of an al-Qaeda suspect.


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