Committee approves Trump's Central Intelligence Agency director nominee, setting up full Senate vote

A world of threats awaits Gina Haspel as CIA director

The Senate has confirmed Gina Haspel as the first female director of the CIA following a rocky nomination process that reopened debate about one of the darkest chapters in the spy agency's history. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire. "While I respect Ms. Haspel's service and sacrifice, after meeting with her and reviewing classified documents, I do not think she is that person". National Intelligence Director Dan Coats said Haspel has integrity and both frontline and executive intelligence expertise.

"The Senate has just confirmed that it will tolerate rot at our government's core by elevating someone linked to those atrocities to now lead the US intelligence agency", Daphne Eviatar, director of security with human rights at Amnesty International USA, said in a statement on Thursday.

Haspel faces opposition from a majority of Democrats and human rights groups for her role in the George W. Bush administration's interrogation and detention program, which critics say amounted to torture.

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.

Tortured himself while a prisoner of war in Vietnam, McCain said approving Haspel would send the wrong message, and the country should only use methods to keep itself safe "as right and just as the values we aspire to live up to and promote in the world".

He says Human Rights First is putting Haspel on notice that Congress and the American people will hold her to her pledge to never reinstate such a program in the future.

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Rand Paul of Kentucky and John McCain of Arizona, are opposed to Haspel's nomination, and McCain isn't expected to be back in Washington for the vote while he battles brain cancer.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said Haspel's assurances were not enough. He said the so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques" the Central Intelligence Agency used at black sites, including slamming detainees against walls and confining them in coffin-shaped boxes, amounted to "government-sanctioned torture". "I don't believe that torture works", she told the committee, but stopped short of saying whether the interrogation program was "immoral" or should have been carried out. "With the benefit of hindsight and my experience as a senior agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one the CIA should have undertaken", she wrote in the letter to Warner.

U.S. Sen John Cornyn, R-Texas, was among her supporters.

Brad Todd, the Virginia-based consultant to Hawley's campaign, tweeted that McCaskill "won't stand up for her state against her party". Democrats thus had the power to stop this nomination in its tracks.

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.

Read Friday's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette for full details.