US Senate confirms Gina Haspel as first ever woman Central Intelligence Agency director


The US Senate has confirmed Gina Haspel to be the country's first female director of the CIA, despite her ties to the agency's past controversial interrogation programme.

CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel speaks during her confirmation hearing before the Senate (Select) Committee on Intelligence May 9, 2018 in Washington, DC.

President Donald Trump nominated Haspel as successor to Mike Pompeo, who is now Secretary of State. "She is the right person to lead the fearless men and women of the CIA, has a clear-eyed vision for the future of the Agency, and I look forward to working with Ms. Haspel in the years to come to keep our country safe".

A member of the Central Intelligence Agency for 33 years, Haspel managed to convince the senators of her merits, despite ongoing discussions of her involvement in the torture programme during Bush administration.

Haspel was approved in spite of stiff opposition stemming from her links to the CIA's use of harsh interrogation methods, including waterboarding, a type of simulated drowning widely considered to be torture, in the years after the 9/11 attacks. But according to Daniel J. Jones, who was a lead investigator for the Senate intelligence committee's torture report, "The CIA ignored the recommendation, and Haspel kept being promoted". "My questions about Ms. Haspel's role in the destruction of videotapes relevant to discussions occurring in Congress regarding the program have not been adequately answered".

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

Thursday's vote was 54-45.

President Trump took to his Twitter account to express his happiness for the same as he added a picture depicting Haspel. But Leahy said he still questioned her judgment and lamented that she has never publicly condemned torture as "immoral". 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. Many said that she was just acting on orders from her senior, Jose Rodriguez who was the director of operations at the clandestine branch at the time and did not act independently.

A fact sheet was released by the White House, listing the reasons why Gina Haspel was "the right person to lead the CIA".

Her opponents argued that it wasn't right to promote someone who supervised a covert detention site in Thailand where terror suspects were waterboarded, an interrogation technique that simulates drowning. "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.