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Senate confirms Gina Haspel for Central Intelligence Agency chief

Senate confirms Gina Haspel for Central Intelligence Agency chief

The Senate intelligence committee recommended Gina Haspel to lead the CIA Wednesday despite concerns over her role in the agency's enhanced interrogation program, which has been roundly criticized as torture.

The Intelligence Committee voted 10-5 to forward her nomination to lead the U.S. spy agency to the entire Senate, virtually assuring final approval of her nomination.

"She has acted morally, ethically, and legally, over a distinguished 30-year career and is the right person to lead the Agency into an uncertain and challenging future", he said.

Two Senate Democrats came forward during the appointment process in support of Haspel - Sen.

Activists say Haspel's expected appointment sends message that in USA, "you can make a career while you torture people".

Brennan is an outspoken critic of Trump but called Haspel "highly qualified" and urged senators to view her with an open mind.

With a positive committee vote, the full Senate could vote on Haspel's confirmation as early as Thursday, according to Senate aides, although that would require cooperation from senators to waive the chamber's procedural hurdles for a quick vote.

Haspel was backed by many in the CIA rank-and-file and was robustly supported by senior intelligence officials, including six former CIA directors and three former national intelligence directors, who said she earned the chance to take the helm of the nation's premier spy agency.

Though three Republicans signaled they wouldn't vote for Haspel, some last-minute lobbying by former Central Intelligence Agency directors John Brennan and Leon Panetta convinced at least five Democrats to vote in favor of her confirmation.

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The 61-year-old Kentucky native would be the nation's first female CIA director, capping a 33-year career with the agency that has sent her to some of the world's most unsafe places as a covert agent.

Haspel supervised one of the covert detention sites in Thailand where suspects were harshly interrogated. "Should we trust that she will have the moral compass to stand up and say 'No?'" he asked. John McCain, whose long-distance rejection of Haspel as he battles brain cancer at home hit a political nerve.

The committee's eight Republicans were joined by Democrats Mark Warner of Virginia and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.

"Torture is unacceptable, immoral and illegal".

Haspel wrote nothing ― and Warner again said nothing ― about her role in covering up the torture program and destroying the videotapes showing torture even after two members of Congress, then-Rep.

Jeff Flake of Arizona, announced his opposition to Haspel. Ms. Haspel's involvement in torture is deeply troubling, as my friend and colleague, John McCain, so eloquently reminded us.

Those Democrats supporting Haspel did so with varying degrees of enthusiasm.

Staberock also said that when Haspel goes around the world, she will have "zero authority" to speak against abuse and torture in other countries. Trump has said in the past that "torture works" and that he would consider using it again. Considering the GOP's slim 51-49 majority, Democrats could easily block the nominee, a career intelligence officer who would make history as the first woman to lead the CIA.