Alex Wong/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — The Senate voted 54-45 Thursday to confirm Gina Haspel to lead the Central Intelligence Agency — once sworn in, she would become the first woman to hold the post.
The full Senate vote comes on the heels of a contentious debate over her nomination, back-and-forth stemming from concerns over her reported role in the CIA’s “black sites” — overseas prisons the agency used to hold and interrogate top al Qaeda terrorists, including waterboarding.
On Monday, Haspel told Congress, in a letter sent to Senator Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, that she now feels the spy agency should not have employed the harsh interrogations program used on al Qaeda detainees that included waterboarding. On Tuesday, Warner said he would support Haspel’s nomination.
Her nomination moved from the Senate Intelligence Committee Wednesday in a 10-5 vote.
“Gina Haspel is the most qualified person the President could choose to lead the CIA and the most prepared nominee in the 70-year history of the Agency,” Chairman Richard Burr, R-N.C., said in a statement following the committee’s vote. “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. I’m pleased to see the Committee favorably report her nomination to the full Senate, and I look forward to her swift confirmation.”
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