Senate confirms CIA's first female director

Kevin Lamarque  Reuters

Kevin Lamarque Reuters

The vote Thursday broke down largely along party lines.

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence offered their congratulations on Twitter, while some senators quickly made clear which side they were on, revealing their votes. "On behalf of the Intelligence Community, we salute Director Haspel, a trailblazer.", said Daniel Coats, Director of National Intelligence.

It must be noted that several Democrats from Republican-controlled states did NOT vote for Haspel, notably Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Doug Jones of Alabama. But Leahy said he still questioned her judgment and lamented that she has never publicly condemned torture as "immoral".

"She is intimately familiar with the threats facing our nation", the North Carolina Republican said.

Ahead of voting, McConnell said Haspel "demonstrated candor, integrity, and a forthright approach" throughout the confirmation process and "has quietly earned the respect and admiration" of intelligence community leaders at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, and overseas.

Warner, the two-term Senator and former Governor of Virginia, is the top Democrat in the Senate Intelligence Committee, serving as Vice Chairman of the committee since January 2017.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said the world was watching the confirmation vote, which he called a "referendum on torture".

Haspel's supporters cited her 33-year career at the agency.

During her confirmation hearing on May 9, Haspel assured lawmakers that under her leadership, the Central Intelligence Agency will not restart a detention and interrogation program experienced during post 9/11.

That record, and Haspel's answers at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing last week, attracted some Democrats, including the ranking Democrat on that committee that oversees the CIA, Mark Warner of Virginia.

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.

The vote was 54-44, with several renegade Democrats shamefully voting aye: Mark Warner of Virginia, Bill Nelson of Florida, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of IN, and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire. Joe Donnelly (IN), Sen.

Republican Senator John McCain, who has been away from Washington all year as he battles brain cancer, urged the Senate not to vote for Haspel. Bill Nelson (FL), Sen. "I also believe it is important to hold Gina Haspel's nomination to a similar standard as previous nominees for this position, particularly in regards to responsibility for the CIA's use of torture following the 9/11 attacks", Shaheen proclaimed.

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