Senate panel OK's Haspel for Central Intelligence Agency head

18 May, 2018, 02:01 | Author: Wade Massey
  • CIA nominee Gina Haspel testifies during a confirmation hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington

Flake said in a statement Wednesday that while he appreciates Haspel's 30-year career at the CIA, the United States needs to turn the page on the spy agency's former program of detaining and harshly interrogating terror suspects.

Gina Haspel was confirmed by the Senate to run the CIA Thursday, despite some lingering concerns over her role in the use of torture techniques while acting as station chief in Thailand.

"Out of the spotlight, whether at Langley and deployed overseas, Ms. Haspel has quietly earned the respect and admiration of those who matter most - the men and women of the CIA, and distinguished current and former intelligence community leaders", said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

The Senate approved her with a 54-45 vote Thursday afternoon. "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".

Haspel, a 61-year-old Kentucky native, had strong support from her colleagues in the Central Intelligence Agency, who praised her service on unsafe assignments around the world.

The senator has served on the Senate Armed Services Committee and has been an ally of McCain, who urged his colleagues recently to reject Haspel's nomination.

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Baldwin's Republican counterpart, Sen.

But Senate Democrat Elizabeth Warren insisted Haspel's past connection to practices now widely seen as torture should sound the alarm bell. More than 100 former USA 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 US behavior is "no different from ours".

Haspel's critics argued she still wouldn't say if she thought the interrogation program was immoral. And Democrats on the Senate intelligence committee wanted the CIA to declassify all materials related to her involvement in an interrogation program from 2002.

Among Democrats supporting Haspel are several who are up for re-election this fall in states where Trump is popular, including Sens.

The CIA did make classified materials about Haspel's record available to senators.

Two Republicans voted against her, while Republican Senator John McCain, who was tortured during years spent as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, is in Arizona battling brain cancer and could not vote. 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. The remaining five Democrats had announced their opposition.

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