US Senate confirms Gina Haspel as new Central Intelligence Agency director

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Haspel was confirmed in a 54-45 vote, the culmination of a roller-coaster nomination that appeared to be in danger at several points after she was abruptly selected by President Donald Trump in March.

The most vulnerable of all Democratic Senators, West Virginia's Joe Manchin, who is campaigning for reelection in a state that overwhelmingly supported President Donald Trump in 2016, told his supporters that he supported Haspel because she was "an unbelievable public servant", who prioritizes the safety of America.

But she has also had strong support from the White House, and many current and former intelligence officials.

Five Democrats have announced that they will vote to confirm Haspel. She criticized Haspel for declining, at a recent hearing of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee, to say that past CIA actions after the 9/11 terror attacks were immoral.

Baldwin's Republican counterpart, Sen.

Baldwin also said she has "serious concerns about the role Ms. Haspel played in the CIA's rendition, detention and so-called enhanced interrogation program" - the latter referring to a program that used techniques such as waterboarding that are widely viewed as torture.

Her opponents said it wasn't right to promote someone who supervised a black site in Thailand.

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Haspel became the first woman to run the spy agency after a 33-year tenure which included filling in as the acting director.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said in a floor speech that Haspel "offered up nearly the classic Washington nonapology".

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

Gina Haspel is picking up Democratic support and is expected to get a nod on Wednesday from the Senate intelligence committee. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of IN and Bill Nelson of Florida. Trump has said in the past that "torture works" and that he would consider using it again.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said that Americans don't really know the truth about Haspel's background because the Central Intelligence Agency refused to declassify records that would have revealed exactly what she did.

The 61-year-old Haspel, a Russian Federation specialist who spent her career in the clandestine service, becomes the first woman to lead the agency, taking over from Mike Pompeo, whom Trump recently made his secretary of state.

"I would not restart, under any circumstances, an interrogation program at CIA", Haspel testified. More than 100 former USA ambassadors who served both Republican and Democratic presidents sent the Senate a letter opposing Haspel, saying that despite her credentials, confirming her would give authoritarian leaders around the world the license to say US behavior is "no different from ours".

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