Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA director

Gina Haspel will be the first woman to head the Central Intelligence Agency after being confirmed by a 54-45 vote in the Senate on Thursday.


Haspel earned emphatic support from GOP lawmakers as well as intelligence community members from both Democratic and Republican administrations.

"The safety and security of the American people depend on capable intelligence leadership. Gina Haspel is the right woman at the right time," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said.

But her history as base chief at a black-site prison in Thailand in 2002, where techniques such as waterboarding were used on terror suspects, came under scrutiny during the confirmation process. Republican supporters accused Democrats of politicizing her nomination and initially trying to derail an otherwise highly qualified nominee.

At her confirmation hearing last week, Democrats grilled her on her views on what they deemed torture, as well as objecting to what they saw as the CIA’s selective declassification about information on her. She was also questioned at length about the 2005 destruction of more than 92 interrogation tapes -- a move she said she supported to ensure the safety of CIA agents.

Haspel refused to criticize her colleagues and superiors for their conduct during what she called a “tumultuous time,” but said the CIA under her watch would not resume such techniques. She also defended her own conduct.

Haspel will replace now-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

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