US Senate Confirms Haspel to Be 1st Woman CIA Director

Aaron Brown
May 18, 2018

Ms. Haspel formally replaces Mike Pompeo as CIA director and will be the first career clandestine service officer to oversee the agency since Richard Helms in the 1960s and William Colby in the 1970s. She is expected to be confirmed after several Democrats joined most Republicans in saying they would back President Donald Trump's nominee.

One of them, Virginia Senator Mark Warner, said Ms Haspel had told him the agency should never have resorted to so-called enhanced interrogation techniques.

During her illustrious career in the CIA, Haspel has worked in various capacities and has been stationed clandestinely overseas including her stint in Africa, wherein in the 80s she assisted Mother Teresa in humanitarian assistance.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, praised Haspel, a career Central Intelligence Agency employee, as "uniquely qualified to face America's biggest national security challenges", adding that she has "earned the respect and admiration of the men and women of the Central Intelligence Agency".

Senator Dianne Feinstein, a top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, echoed the sentiment of Haspel's opponents in the Senate.

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

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At her confirmation hearing last week, Haspel faced sharp questions from Democrats about whether she thought the interrogation program was immoral.

In declassified intelligence of the CIA, it was said that Haspel played a big role in the brutal handling of suspected al Qaeda terrorist Abu Zubaydah who even lost an eye because of extensive torture, according to Biography.com.

Nearly all details about Ms. Haspel's record at the agency were classified, and officials there defied calls from some lawmakers to make them available to the public ahead of the vote. Senator Ron Wyden of OR said on the Senate floor, "What I can say is her classified comments about her background have been as troubling as her public testimony". But to the frustration of many senators, she refused to condemn the program and said it had been legal at the time.

"The bottom line is this: No one has ever been held accountable for the torture program, and I do not believe those who were intimately involved in it deserve to lead the agency", Feinstein said before casting her vote against Haspel. She has been acting director since Pompeo was confirmed as secretary of state.

Haspel, who will be the first woman to lead the CIA, is a 33-year veteran at the agency and now serving as its acting director.

U.S. Sen John Cornyn, R-Texas, was among her supporters. "I have been frank with Ms. Haspel that I wish she had been more open with the American public during this process".

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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