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Senate OKs 1st Female CIA Chief Despite Torture Concerns

18 May, 2018, 09:31 | Author: Lucille Rivera
  • Sen. Jeff Flake

US President Donald Trump was pleased to see yet another of his nominee getting appointed to a plum official post - this time as Gina Haspel, who went on to grab the post of the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) on May 17 and became the first woman to do so.

Thursday's 54-45 vote got over the line with the support of a half-dozen Democrats, including Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Sen.

"There is no greater voice on this subject than John McCain's", said Sen.

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. "Her confirmation is also historic because she will be the first woman to lead the agency".

Haspel is a CIA veteran after more than 30 years with the agency.

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.

"Gina Haspel is among one of the most qualified people to be nominated to be director of the CIA", Warner said. They said the US needs to close the book forever on the program that marred America's image with allies overseas.

Haspel's nomination reopened debate about the CIA's now-defunct program of detaining terror suspects overseas at secret lockups and subjecting them to harsh interrogation techniques. They also had questions about her rejection of the now-banned techniques.

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Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, said in a floor speech that Haspel "offered up nearly the classic Washington nonapology". However, this version of events is undermined by the facts in the Senate torture report.

Republican Senator John McCain, who has been away from Washington all year while battling brain cancer, urged the Senate not to vote for Haspel.

This, however, did not deter the handful of Democrats from voting to confirm her.

Two of the committee's seven Democrats have said they are supporting Haspel, including Virginia's Sen.

Jeanne Shaheen supported the nomination.

Other Trump-state Democrats, though, including Sen.

Among those opposed was Sen.

"I think she's a particularly disastrous choice, being one of the principal actors" in the torture program of the Bush administration, Alberto Mora, the former general counsel for the US Navy and a senior fellow at the Harvard's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, told Al Jazeera. The controversial practice, which simulates drowning, has been likened to torture but supporters say it has helped extract valuable information from hardened terrorists.

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