The Senate voted 54-45 Thursday to substantiate Gina Haspel to steer the Central Intelligence Company — as soon as sworn in, she would change into the primary lady to carry the submit.
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Haspel succeeds Mike Pompeo, who was confirmed as Trump’s secretary of state final month.
Six Democrats helped Republicans in confirming Haspel: Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Sen. Invoice Nelson of Florida, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, and Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia – most of whom are up for re-election this November in states Trump received handily in 2016.
Two Republicans opposed Haspel’s nomination: Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, and Jeff Flake of Arizona.
The complete Senate vote comes on the heels of a contentious debate over her nomination, back-and-forth stemming from issues over her reported position within the CIA’s “black websites” — abroad prisons the company used to carry and interrogate prime al Qaeda terrorists, together with waterboarding.
Haspel informed Congress, in a letter despatched to Warner on Monday, that she now feels the spy company mustn’t have employed the cruel interrogations program used on al Qaeda detainees that included waterboarding.
Within the letter, Haspel additionally acknowledged that it was “a mistake” for the CIA to not have briefed Congress about this system at its inception.
“With the advantage of hindsight and my expertise as a senior company chief, the improved interrogation program just isn’t one the CIA ought to have undertaken,” she wrote within the letter to Warner.
“Whereas I will not condemn those who made these arduous calls, and I’ve famous the dear intelligence collected, this system finally did injury to our officers and our standing on this planet,” Haspel continued.
She had not expressed these emotions publicly, throughout her contentious affirmation listening to final week. Haspel informed the committee that she wouldn’t resurrect the company’s controversial rendition, detainee, and interrogation program if she grew to become CIA director, however went no additional.
“I do not imagine that torture works,” she informed the committee, however stopped wanting saying whether or not the interrogation program was “immoral” or ought to have been carried out.
Many Democrats have expressed concern about Haspel’s nomination.
“Gina Haspel and the CIA have dedicated one of the crucial blatant abuses of energy in current historical past, aided and abetted by a complete failure of Congressional oversight,” Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oreg., stated in an announcement Wednesday. “I’ve very grave issues about Ms. Haspel and imagine her background makes her unsuitable to be CIA director.”
Haspel is well-regarded inside the company. She joined the CIA in 1985 and has held a collection of high-ranking positions on the intelligence company all through her prolonged profession, together with senior management positions inside the company’s Nationwide Clandestine Service, which oversees the company’s spy operations abroad and its most covert operations applications.
On the request of Congress, the CIA has declassified paperwork shedding gentle on Haspel’s profession in covert operations, significantly in her reported position on the company’s “black website” in Thailand.
The committee’s report on the CIA’s rendition program stated senior al Qaeda operatives Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri had been detained at that location.
The report stated that whereas on the black website in Thailand in 2002, Zubaydah was subjected to the controversial observe of waterboarding 83 instances and to different “stress” methods comparable to being slammed in opposition to partitions, disadvantaged of sleep and positioned in a coffin-sized field for as much as 226 hours.
Sen. John McCain of Arizona was not in Washington for the vote however introduced final week that he opposed her nomination.
In March, McCain famous that Haspel’s CIA profession “has intersected with this system of so-called ‘enhanced interrogation methods’ on plenty of events.”
“The torture of detainees in U.S. custody over the past decade was one of many darkest chapters in American historical past,” McCain stated in an announcement. “Ms. Haspel wants to elucidate the character and extent of her involvement within the CIA’s interrogation program in the course of the affirmation course of.”
ABC Information’ Luis Martinez contributed to this report.