The US Senate has approved the CIA's first female director, despite her role in the spy agency's post-9/11 interrogation programme.
As it turns out, erstwhile CIA Director John Brennan, who was appointed under former President Barack Obama in 2013, held a similar view of waterboarding and faced quite a bit of criticism from the left for his nuanced views on the issue. McCain's opposition became a key factor in swaying Arizona Republican Sen.Jeff Flake's vote, and was cited by a number of Democrats who spoke out against her nomination in the following days and, just before the vote, on the Senate floor.
Haspel's nomination reopened debate about the CIA's now-defunct program of detaining terror suspects overseas at secret lockups and subjecting them to harsh interrogation techniques.
"She is the right person to lead the fearless men and women of the CIA, has a clear-eyed vision for the future of the Agency, and I look forward to working with Ms. Haspel in the years to come to keep our country safe".
Senator Mark Warner, vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, cast the deciding vote. Rand Paul (R-KY) were the only Republicans to vote against Haspel, while Sen.
As senators were preparing to vote, a military judge at the Guantánamo Bay wartime prison rejected a request by Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the principal architect of the September 11 attacks, for permission to give the Senate six paragraphs of information about Ms. Haspel.
But several Democrats expressed worry that Haspel might not stand up to the president who in 2016 told supporters that "torture works" and that he would like to see interrogation techniques "tougher than waterboarding". "I agree with many in the military and my friend and colleague Senator John McCain-the only United States Senator who understands torture in a way I hope no American will experience ever again -that the Central Intelligence Agency needs a leader who is willing to take a stand when the policies don't reflect our values".
Her confirmation today for the role is provoking a series mixed reactions, and the news isn't sitting well with everyone.
A 33-year veteran of the CIA, Haspel will be the first woman to lead the agency and is now serving as its acting director.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called Haspel "the right woman at the right time" to lead the agency.
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.
She will succeed Mike Pompeo as director. "While I respect Ms. Haspel's service and sacrifice, after meeting with her and reviewing classified documents, I do not think she is that person".
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