Gina Haspel confirmed as CIA's first female director

Geraldine Edwards
May 18, 2018

"Out of the spotlight, whether at Langley and deployed overseas, Ms. Haspel has quietly earned the respect and admiration of those who matter most - the men and women of the CIA, and distinguished current and former intelligence community leaders", said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

FCNL thanks Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Angus King (I-ME), and Kamala Harris (D-CA) for voting NO on the nomination of Gina Haspel in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and for all the 45 senators who voted their conscience and opposed her confirmation today on the Senate floor.

Haspel showed the craft of dodging the questions and revealed that it is she who decided what information about her previous activities should see light.

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The committee voted Wednesday in a closed session before a hearing on the intelligence community's assessment of 2017 Russian election meddling, in which former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former CIA Director John Brennan and former National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers are testifying. National Intelligence Director Dan Coats said Haspel has integrity and both frontline and executive intelligence expertise.

Brad Todd, the Virginia-based consultant to Hawley's campaign, tweeted that McCaskill "won't stand up for her state against her party".

He asked how the Senate could take seriously Haspel's "conversion on torture". John McCain (R-Ariz.) not voting, the six Democrats who voted yes provided the key support to make Haspel America's next Central Intelligence Agency chief. John McCain, R-Ariz., it meant that Haspel needed Democratic votes to assure her confirmation. Her involvement in ordering the destruction, in 2005, of 92 videotapes - some of which documented the interrogations - while serving as chief of staff to then-Director of the clandestine service Jose Rodriguez was also roundly criticized.

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Haspel has vowed never to restart such a program and says her "strong moral compass" would prevent her from carrying out any presidential order she found objectionable. They said they voted for Haspel because they thought her experience was essential in confronting today's threats from USA adversaries like Russia, North Korea, China and Iran.

But Haspel secured enough votes to win confirmation with the backing of six Democrats, including Virginia Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Sen. But she won over members including Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, with a letter this week saying that "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".

But in the days leading up to Thursday's vote, she picked up Democratic support, particularly from those in tough midterm re-election fights. Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida, Sen. Other Democrats voting yes were Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.

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