Gina Haspel confirmed as first ever female Central Intelligence Agency director

Sen. Jeff Flake

Sen. Jeff Flake

Law360, Washington (May 17, 2018, 10:19 PM EDT) - President Donald Trump's choice to lead the CIA, Gina Haspel, cleared the Senate on Thursday despite opposition from a number of Democrats and Republicans over her record at the agency, including her oversight of so-called black sites and torture of terror suspects.

But McCaskill also has affirmative votes to top Trump nominees she can point to, such as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, to make the case that she is independent, deliberative, and discerning.

Following the announcement of Haspel's confirmation, President Trump took to Twitter to congratulate her.

During the confirmation process, she was criticized for her ties to the agency's use of harsh interrogation techniques.

But for many in the Senate, such as Intelligence Committee Democrat Mark Warner, Haspel's dark history didn't matter.

Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Jeff Flake of Arizona were among the Republicans who voted against Haspel.

Ahead of the vote, McConnell said Haspel "demonstrated candor, integrity, and a forthright approach" during the confirmation process and that she "has quietly earned the respect and admiration" the intelligence community at home and overseas.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said the world was watching the confirmation vote, which he called a "referendum on torture". John McCain, R-Ariz., who survived years of torture as a POW in Vietnam, and who, as he undergoes treatment for brain cancer, was not present for the floor vote.

Haspel may have possibly done her self some good when trying to get Senator Warner's vote as well. Jeanne Shaheen (NH), and Senate Intelligence Committee vice-chair Sen.

Haspel also had strong support from Trump's administration, many current and former intelligence officials and a wide range of lawmakers, including Democrats.

It's official: Gina Haspel is the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

"With the benefit of hindsight and my experience as a senior agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one the C.I.A. should have undertaken", she wrote. "I have heard from many Agency officers, and for that matter, members of the rank and file of other Intelligence Community agencies", Warner, who had announced his intention to support Haspel on Tuesday, said. "But I do question her fidelity to a core value of our nation - that all people have certain inalienable rights", Leahy said in a statement, adding that the basic dignity of human beings "is incompatible with inhumane practices like torture". "I have asked again and again for some justification for Ms. Haspel's self-serving classification decisions and every response I have received, in classified and unclassified settings, has convinced me further that those decisions have nothing to do with protecting sources and methods, and only to do with protecting her own image".

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