WASHINGTON – Experienced spy Gina Haspel becomes the first female CIA director after six Democrats joined the Republicans on Thursday in a Senate confirmation vote that overruled their role in the spy The agency's voting program was after September 11, 1965. The vote between 54 and 45 divided both parties, and the margin was closest for a CIA candidate in nearly seven decades in which a nod of the Senate was required. Haspel, who has spent most of her entire 33-year CIA career in covert positions, has been the first career officer ever since William Colby in 1973 to be confirmed.
Haspel, 61, is originally from Kentucky, but grew up around the world as the daughter of an Air Force soldier. She has worked in Africa, Europe and classified locations around the globe and was tapped last year as deputy director of the CIA. She worked under former CIA director Mike Pompeo until President Donald Trump moved him to Secretary of State.
Reel has been supported by many in the CIA base and senior intelligence officials, including six former CIA directors and three former national intelligence directors, who said she had the opportunity to become the main role of the nation's main espionage agency. Dan Coats, director of the National Intelligence Service, said that Reel has integrity and expertise in frontline and executive intelligence. "We welcome Director Haspel, a trailblazer who is the first woman to lead the CIA today."
Their opponents argued that it was not right to recruit someone who was in charge of a secret detention center in Thailand, in which terror suspects were Waterboarded, an interrogation technique that simulates drowning. They said the US must close, which was one of the darkest chapters of the CIA, spoiling America's image with its ally abroad.
Several senators said Reel was unwilling to answer questions about their role in the torture program or the decision of the CIA to record video sessions. They also had questions about their rejection of the now-banned techniques.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Said in a speech that Reel "almost offered the classic apology of Washington." He asked how the Senate could seriously take on Reel's "Conversion to Torture"
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Said the world is watching the confirmation vote, which he called a "referendum on torture". He said the so-called "extended interrogation methods" used by the CIA in black places, including slamming prisoners against walls and curbing them in coffin-shaped boxes, amounted to "state-sanctioned torture."
Haspel has vowed never to start such a program again and says her "strong moral compass" would prevent her from carrying out any presidential decree she objected to. That was enough to get some senators into the "yes" column. But Leahy said he still questioned her verdict and complained that she had never condemned torture as "immoral."
He wondered aloud what reel would do if it did something to America's core values. "Should we trust that she has the moral compass to get up and say 'no'?" He asked. "Based on what we saw, I do not."
Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Said the nomination is not just about Reel, but also about the US, who messes with their mistakes.
"The conclusion is that no one has ever been held accountable for the torture program. I do not think those who had anything to do with it deserve to run the agency," Feinstein said before speaking her voice against Reel gave.
Since Trump nominated Haspel, her confirmation has been clouded by the debate over the CIA's earlier interrogation program. A protester in the Senate Visitor Gallery briefly interrupted the speeches before the vote with calls against the CIA.
Three Republicans protested against them: Arizona Senator John McCain, fighting cancer and not voting; Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky; and Sen. Jeff Flake from Arizona.
Six Democrats, however, were encouraged by their promise never to resort to brutal interrogation programs, even if Trump asked. They said they voted for Reel because they considered their experience necessary for today's threats from US opponents such as Russia, North Korea, China and Iran.
Among the Democrats supporting Reel, several states were voted on this fall, including Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Senator Bill Nelson of Florida. Yes, Senator Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire and Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the highest ranking member of the Intelligence Committee, also agreed.
"It was not an easy decision," Warner said, adding that he had met up with Reel many times over the last few weeks. He said he was convinced that Reel could and would stand up to Trump, who spoke out in favor of water boarding and said "torture work".
After the vote, human rights groups quickly issued statements denouncing the endorsement and the program that has since been suspended
"The Senate has now rewarded this cruel behavior by sponsoring someone who allegedly led them to one of the to lead the most powerful government agencies, "said Daphne Eviatar of Amnesty International USA.
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