Controversial CIA director nominee confirmed by Senate

May 18, 2018, 13:58
Controversial CIA director nominee confirmed by Senate

Warner, who is the vice chairman and leading Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, stood on the Senate floor before he voted for Haspel and said, "We should not overlook the historic nature of Ms. Haspel's nomination as the first woman to be nominated as director of the CIA".

Despite strong opposition and protest, CIA veteran Gina Haspel has been approved by the senate as the agency's new director.

Laura Pitter with Human Rights Watch says Haspel's confirmation is a "perverse byproduct of the USA failure to grapple with past abuses".

"Gina Haspel is among one of the most qualified people to be nominated to be director of the CIA", Warner said.

In the end, Flake voted against Haspel because he said he did not get enough information on her role in the destruction of the interrogation tapes.

"Due to the overwhelming public evidence suggesting Haspel's participation and compliance with crimes including torture, enforced disappearance, and obstruction of justice, Haspel's nomination is an affront to human rights", Daphne Eviatar of Amnesty International USA said in a statement on Tuesday.

Most of the Democratic votes in favor of Haspel came from senators who are up for re-election in November in states that Trump won in 2016, including Sens.

"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.

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

The CIA, where Haspel had been serving as acting director following former CIA Director Mike Pompeo's shift to the State Department, had launched an unprecedented campaign to ensure Haspel received confirmation.

Haspel pledged to lawmakers that she would "never ever" take the Central Intelligence Agency back to enhanced interrogation techniques. They said they voted for Haspel because they thought her experience was essential in confronting today's threats from US adversaries like Russia, North Korea, China and Iran.

He did not vote on Thursday. They also had questions about her rejection of the now-banned techniques.

Trump had always supported Haspel to be the choice for the directorial post.

Haspel was CIA station chief in Thailand in 2002 when the agency conducted harsh interrogations including waterboarding of suspected terrorists at secret "black site" facilities overseas following the September 11, 2001 terror attacks.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) voted for Haspel.

During the hearing, Haspel defended her past actions and refused to criticize her colleagues for their tactics at the time.

Rights groups had urged senators to block Haspel's nomination. It was reported that it was supported by 10 members, and five voted against.

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