Full Senate Confirms Haspel As Next CIA Director

9 2018 Gina Haspel testifies before the Senate Intelligence Committee on her nomination to be the next CIA director in the Hart Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill in Washington DC

Despite the opposition of Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona, the United States Senate today voted to confirm torturer Gina Haspel to be the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency, further harming the United States' worldwide standing and handing Donald Trump another victory.

While Warner claimed that he believes Haspel "can and will stand up to the President if ordered to do something illegal or immoral - like a return to torture", ABC News pointed out that some of the Democrats who stood behind Haspel's confirmation may have had ulterior motives as majority are up for re-election in states where President Donald Trump won in the 2016 presidential election.

During a Senate confirmation hearing on May 9, Haspel said she would never resume the spy agency's "enhanced interrogation techniques".

An undercover officer for most of her CIA career, Haspel in 2002 served as CIA station chief in Thailand, where the agency conducted interrogations at a secret prison using torture methods which included waterboarding.

Republican Senator like Richard Burr, however, supported Haspel saying she had the "right skill set, experience and judgment" as the leader of the Central Intelligence Agency.

CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel walks to meetings on Capitol Hill in Washington Monday
CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel walks to meetings on Capitol Hill in Washington Monday

Those speaking out in favor of Haspel's candidacy - like Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Va. - cited, among other things, the vast support for Haspel from within the CIA. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Jeff Flake (Ariz.) sided with most Democrats in voting against Haspel. Sen. Two Republicans voted against her, while Republican Senator John McCain, who was tortured during years spent as a prisoner of war in Vietnam, also opposed her nomination but is in Arizona battling brain cancer and could not vote.

Democratic Sens. Mark Warner (VA), Joe Manchin (WV), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Joe Donnelly (IN), Bill Nelson (FL), and Jeanne Shaheen (NH) all crossed over and voted to confirm Haspel. John McCain who is now battling brain cancer.

Human rights groups were quick to criticize Haspel and political leaders. "I need to have confidence that the person running it has the instincts and judgment to make decisions in line with our country's moral compass", McCaskill said, explaining her vote.

Haspel, 61, is a native of Kentucky but grew up around the world as the daughter of an Air Force serviceman. In stepping in as the CIA's new chief, she becomes the agency's first-ever female director.

"The Haspel nomination is one of the most self-serving abuses of power in recent history", Ron Wyden of OR said. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), for not offering a simple "yes" or "no" answer when asked if she believes the controversial practice qualifies as torture.

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