Gina Haspel appointment confirms Senate will 'tolerate rot at Government's core'

Pauline Gross
May 18, 2018

The Senate confirmed Gina Haspel on Thursday as the first female director of the CIA following a hard nomination process that reopened an emotional debate about brutal interrogation techniques in one of the darkest chapters in the spy agency's history.

Gina Haspel, 61, was confirmed by the Senate on May 17, which means she can officially take command of the spy agency from Mike Pompeo, who Trump nominated as Secretary of State after firing Rex Tillerson.

Gina Haspel's nomination as CIA director was met with strong opposition among U.S. lawmakers, as she was suspected of having been involved in the agency's use of extreme interrogation methods.

Several senators said Haspel was not forthcoming in answering questions about her role in the torture program or the CIA's decision to destroy video-taped evidence of the sessions.

The nomination came under fire for Haspel's past ties to the CIA's former rendition, detention and interrogation activities, carried out in the years following the September 11 attacks, with the use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding, now widely considered torture.

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.

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Jeanne Shaheen supported the nomination. "They include the extraordinary sisterhood in CTC that brought their passion and drive to the fight to bring down aAl-Qaeda; the mentors, role models, and close friends who supported and believed in her throughout her career", the article read. Most Republicans were in favor of Haspel, while most Democrats were not, meaning Haspel needed to sway undecided Democrats in order to be confirmed due to Republicans having a slim majority in the Senate. "Should we trust that she will have the moral compass to stand up and say 'No?'" he asked.

In a statement, Heitkamp wrote that while the decision was not an easy one, she believes it's up to President Donald Trump to pick the Central Intelligence Agency director who he believes is best suited to the job.

Haspel may have possibly done her self some good when trying to get Senator Warner's vote as well.

But for many in the Senate, such as Intelligence Committee Democrat Mark Warner, Haspel's dark history didn't matter.

"The Senate has now rewarded that atrocious conduct by promoting someone that reportedly administered it to lead one of the government's most powerful agencies", said Daphne Eviatar at Amnesty International USA. John McCain (R-AZ), who is home receiving treatment for brain cancer, was not able to vote.

Ahead of the vote, McConnell said Haspel "demonstrated candor, integrity, and a forthright approach" during the confirmation process and that she "has quietly earned the respect and admiration" the intelligence community at home and overseas.

Other reports by GizPress

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