US Senate confirms Gina Haspel as first female Central Intelligence Agency director

A 33-year-veteran of the agency, Ms Haspel, 61, spent most of her career as an undercover operative.

McCaskill, who met privately with Haspel on Monday, did not announce her intentions until she voted.

Trump had always supported Haspel to be the choice for the directorial post.

TRT World's correspondent Leone Lakhani has more from Washington, DC.

But with her past suddenly in the spotlight, she endured a contentious confirmation process during which lawmakers criticized her work following the September 11, 2001 attacks, when she oversaw a secret prison in Thailand.

Haspel even allegedly ordered destruction of the video of the interrogations of Zubaydah and his mate Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, the website said.

Republican Senator John McCain, who has been away from Washington all year while battling brain cancer, urged the Senate not to vote for Haspel.

The vote Thursday broke down largely along party lines.

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Born in Ashland, Kentucky, US in October 1956, to a US Air Force officer, Haspel began her career with the Central Intelligence Agency in 1985. Prominent among those was Senator Mark Warner, Ranking Member of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee.

"I believe she is someone who can and will stand up to the President, who will speak truth to power if this President orders her to do something illegal or immoral, like a return to torture", he said in a Senate speech before the vote. McCain's opposition became a key factor in swaying Arizona Republican Sen.Jeff Flake's vote, and was cited by a number of Democrats who spoke out against her nomination in the following days and, just before the vote, on the Senate floor.

She is the first operations officer in more than five decades - and the first-ever woman - to be named to the role.

"It's a complete disgrace to our democracy that senators refused to do their jobs to uphold transparency and accountability", said Christopher Anders of the civil right's organization.

"I think she's a particularly disastrous choice, being one of the principal actors" in the torture program of the Bush administration, Alberto Mora, the former general counsel for the US Navy and a senior fellow at the Harvard's Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, told Al Jazeera.

Laura Pitter of Human Rights Watch called Haspel's nomination "the predictable and perverse byproduct of the USA failure to grapple with past abuses".

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.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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