Arizona's Flake opposes Haspel for Central Intelligence Agency chief

Confirmation of Gina Haspel, Supervisor of Torture, As CIA Director, Is Unconscionable

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, voted Thursday against confirming the first woman CIA director, citing concern with her past role in and recent comments on the agency's use of torture.

The 54-45 vote split both parties, with six Democrats joining most Republicans in support.

But she has also had strong support from the White House, and many current and former intelligence officials.

Haspel faced a tough nomination and confirmation process. John McCain of Arizona also opposed Haspel, but is receiving treatment for brain cancer and was not present. He became USA secretary of state last month.

McConnell steered the confirmation swiftly past opponents, including the ailing Republican Sen.

The Senate confirmed Haspel today as the first female director of the CIA following a hard nomination process that reopened an emotional debate about brutal interrogation techniques in one of the darkest chapters in the spy agency's history. In a letter on Monday, she went beyond what she said in her public testimony.

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"For the first time in the history of the United States, the Central Intelligence Agency will be led by someone with a past role in the use of torture", Christopher Anders, deputy director of ACLU's legislative office, said in a statement.

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said in a floor speech that Haspel "offered up nearly the classic Washington nonapology". He is home in Arizona and will not be voting on the nomination. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Bill Nelson of Florida. She ducked her head and declined to respond on Thursday when reporters asked her about her position as she walked onto the Senate floor to cast her vote. Other Democrats voting yes were Sen. But 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 United States intelligence agency.

Among Democrats supporting Haspel are several who are up for re-election this fall in states where Trump is popular, including Sens. The full Senate could hold a confirmation vote before the end of the week. Trump has said in the past that "torture works" and that he would consider using it again.

The 61-year-old Haspel, a Russian Federation specialist who spent her career in the clandestine service, becomes the first woman to lead the agency, taking over from Mike Pompeo, whom Trump recently made his secretary of state.

Flake says he still has questions about Haspel's role in the destruction of the tapes. More than 100 former USA ambassadors who served both Republican and Democratic presidents sent the Senate a letter opposing Haspel, saying that despite her credentials, confirming her would give authoritarian leaders around the world the license to say US behavior is "no different from ours".

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