Trump’s CIA head pick Gina Haspel confirmed by Senate

The Senate on Thursday confirmed President Trump’s divisive pick to head the nation’s spy agency.

Gina Haspel, a 33-year veteran intelligence officer, will be the CIA’s first female director.

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The vote was 54-45 with three Republicans opposing Haspel’s nomination and six Democrats joining the majority of the GOP.

Critics raised concerns about Haspel’s role at the agency when it employed an “enhanced interrogation” program that used tactics broadly considered torture.

Her nomination sparked renewed debate over brutal interrogation practices used on terror suspects after 9/11.

The 61-year-old was involved in supervising a secret CIA detention site in Thailand and was connected to the destruction of videotapes documenting interrogation sessions with detainees.

Elizabeth Beavers, the associate policy director at the liberal group Indivisible, said senators are making a political miscalculation if they give their support to confirm a nominee “who has helped carry out torture.”

It’s a vote, she said, “they’re going to have to explain for a long time to come.”

During her confirmation hearing last week, Haspel said she doesn’t believe torture works and that her “strong moral compass” would prevent her from carrying out any presidential order she found objectionable.

Haspel also said she would not permit the spy agency to resume its torture program.

Critics, including Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), questioned whether appointing Haspel would further damage the CIA’s image worldwide.

Critics raised concerns about Haspel’s role at the agency when it employed an “enhanced interrogation” program that used tactics broadly considered torture.

Critics raised concerns about Haspel’s role at the agency when it employed an “enhanced interrogation” program that used tactics broadly considered torture. (Alex Brandon/AP)

McCain did not vote because he’s battling brain cancer.

Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Jeff Flake of Arizona voted against the confirmation.

Haspel is replacing Mike Pompeo, who Trump made Secretary of State following the departure of Rex Tillerson.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) called Haspel “the right woman at the right time.”

McConnell helmed the confirmation past opponents, including the long-distance rejection from McCain.

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Ahead of voting, McConnell said Haspel “demonstrated candor, integrity, and a forthright approach” throughout the confirmation process.

Opponents said Haspel was not forthcoming in answering questions about her role in the torture program or the CIA’s decision to destroy evidence of the sessions.

They also questioned her new found rejection of the now-banned techniques.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said in a floor speech that Haspel “offered up almost the classic Washington nonapology.”

He asked how the Senate could take seriously Haspel’s “conversion on torture.”

With With News Wire Services

Source: Ny Daily News

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