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Haspel confirmed for Central Intelligence Agency

18 May 2018

The US Senate confirmed Gina Haspel on Thursday to be director of the CIA, ending a bruising confirmation fight centred on her ties to the spy agency's past use of torture.

Republican Senator Roy Blunt said Thursday after the Senate's confirmation of Haspel that she is the right choice.

The 61-year-old Haspel, a Russian Federation specialist who spent her career in the clandestine service, becomes the first woman to lead the agency, taking over from Mike Pompeo, whom Trump recently made his secretary of state. Haspel is now the CIA's deputy director.

However, Haspel told senators during a harsh interrogation at her conformation hearing last week that she would not restart the torture program if conformed even if President Trump asked her to do so.

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Haspel was CIA station chief in Thailand in 2002 when the agency conducted harsh interrogations including waterboarding of suspected terrorists at secret "black site" facilities overseas following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks. He says Human Rights First is putting Haspel on notice that Congress and the American people will hold her to her pledge to never reinstate such a program in the future. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Bill Nelson of Florida. Her specific role in the program remains classified.

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

The tally was 54-45 in her favour in the 100-member chamber, where a simple majority was required for confirmation. Haspel was appointed its head after Zubayadah, but she was present during another severe torture case, Abdal-Rahim al-Nashiri.

Paul had pause about voting for her because of the torture tactics.

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He conceded he struggled with the decision - "To those here who have concluded that Ms. Haspel's background with the [Rendition, Detention and Interrogation] program should preclude her from leading the Central Intelligence Agency - I respect their arguments, and I know the passion with which they put forward their position".

Meanwhile, two Senators who don't have to worry about answering to red-state voters during an election year extended their support for Haspel.

These were two clear reasons to oppose Haspel that could cut across party lines: (1) Haspel's reluctance to acknowledge torture's immorality in a public forum and (2) her refusal to be forthright and honest about why the videotapes were destroyed. They also had questions about her rejection of the now-banned techniques. John McCain that Haspel's record and perspective on torture are disqualifying. A group of 53 former intelligence officials wrote a letter to the Senate Intelligence Committee conveying their strong support to Gina, Vox reported.

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Haspel confirmed for Central Intelligence Agency