Gina Haspel was confirmed Thursday as CIA director, becoming the first woman to lead the agency and overcoming initial Democratic opposition regarding her role in post-9/11 interrogation and detention practices.
The Senate voted 54-45 to confirm President Trump’s nominee, with six Democrats supporting and two Republicans defecting.
(Gina Haspel will be the first woman to head the Central Intelligence Agency after being confirmed by a 54-45 vote in the Senate on Thursday. CBS News’ Olivia Gazis has more on the contentious confirmation process. Courtesy of CBS News and YouTube. Posted on May 17, 2018)
Haspel, whose nomination was endorsed by the Senate Intelligence Committee a day earlier, previously was deputy director and has spent her career with the agency.
Haspel earned emphatic support from GOP lawmakers as well as intelligence community members from both Democratic and Republican administrations.
“The safety and security of the American people depend on capable intelligence leadership.”
“Gina Haspel is the right woman at the right time,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said.
But her history as base chief at a black-site prison in Thailand in 2002, where techniques such as waterboarding were used on terror suspects, came under scrutiny during the confirmation process.
Republican supporters accused Democrats of politicizing her nomination and initially trying to derail an otherwise highly qualified nominee.
At her confirmation hearing last week, Democrats grilled her on her views on what they deemed torture, as well as objecting to what they saw as the CIA’s selective declassification about information on her.
She was also questioned at length about the 2005 destruction of more than 92 interrogation tapes — a move she said she supported to ensure the safety of CIA agents.
(Kentucky Senator Rand Paul lays out concerns about Gina Haspel’s ties to John Brennan, weighs in on North Korea’s threat to cancel Trump-Kim summit and discusses troubling White House leaks. Courtesy of Fox News and YouTube)
Haspel refused to criticize her colleagues and superiors for their conduct during what she called a “tumultuous time,” but said the CIA under her watch would not resume such techniques. She also defended her own conduct.
“After 9/11 … I stepped up. I was not on the sidelines, I was on the frontlines in the Cold War and I was on the frontlines in the fight against Al Qaeda,” she said in response to a question from Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore.
Haspel’s confirmation had been in question after Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., later joined by Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., said he would not vote for her.
“While I thank Ms. Haspel for her long and dedicated service to the CIA, as a country we need to turn the page on the unfortunate chapter in the agency’s history having to do with torture,” Flake said in a statement Wednesday.
Along with the absence of Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., it meant that Haspel needed Democratic votes to assure her confirmation.
But in the days leading up to Thursday’s vote, she picked up Democratic support, particularly from those in tough midterm re-election fights.
(Who is Gina Haspel? President Trump has nominated Gina Haspel, a 33-year CIA veteran, to head the agency. Courtesy of the Washington Post and YouTube. Posted on Mar 13, 2018)
Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., came out to back her last week, and others followed.
A key factor may have been a letter she wrote to Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., vice chairman of the intelligence committee, on Tuesday, saying: “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.”
Warner subsequently said in a statement that he believes she “is someone who can and will stand up to the president if ordered to do something illegal or immoral — like a return to torture.”
Haspel will replace now-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Adam Shaw is a Politics Reporter and occasional Opinion writer for FoxNews.com.
(Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s nominee for CIA director, vowed that she would never allow the CIA to go back to running an interrogation program and would push back if President Trump ordered her to do so. Courtesy of CNN and YouTube. Posted on May 9, 2018)
Gina Haspel’s Confirmation Is Central To Our National Security
By The White House
CHICAGO TRIBUNE EDITORIAL BOARD: The Case for Gina Haspel as CIA Director
“Haspel gets rave reviews from former national security officials from Democratic and Republican administrations, and is said to be strongly supported by agency employees.”
“That might have given her an easy path to Senate confirmation as the CIA’s first female director … Haspel, who would be the first CIA director in five decades to come into the job after a career in clandestine operations, is also a proven administrator.”
“The Senate should confirm her.”
NEW HAMPSHIRE UNION LEADER EDITORIAL BOARD: Confirm Haspel: The Intelligent Choice for CIA
“Much of Haspel’s 33-year career remains classified, but she has received stellar endorsements from across the intelligence community.”
“She is capable, experienced, and dedicated to keeping America safe.”
“She should not be disqualified for doing her job using rules some senators now find objectionable.”
(Gina Haspel is President Trump’s pick to replace Mike Pompeo as CIA Director. Former CIA Director James Brennan discusses Haspel’s intelligence experience and her chances at a confirmation. Courtesy of MSNBC and YouTube. Posted on Mar 13, 2018)
NEW YORK POST EDITORIAL BOARD: Gina Haspel’s Hypocritical Critics
“A 30-year veteran already serving as acting CIA chief, Haspel would be the first woman to lead the agency and the first director in decades who’s spent her entire career there.”
“She has the enthusiastic support of pretty much anyone who’s ever worked with her … Any Democrats voting against her, especially those who voted to confirm Brennan, ought to give a good explanation why.”
RICHMOND TIMES-DISPATCH EDITORIAL BOARD: The Key Question about Gina Haspel Already has been Answered
“Everyone who has considered her record agrees that she is supremely qualified to head the Central Intelligence Agency.”
“Over the course of three decades, she has risen through the ranks from station chief to deputy director.”
“Her colleagues sing her praises and even her foes acknowledge her abilities … She is eminently qualified to direct the CIA.”
FORMER DEFENSE INTELLIGENCE AGENCY ACTING DIRECTOR DAVID R. SHEDD IN USA TODAY: Today’s Talker: Confirm Gina Haspel as CIA Director. Why Oppose Her Nomination?
“Without question, Gina Haspel is unequivocally the right person to lead the CIA at this crucial moment in history.”
“Both her long-term record of distinguished service and her professional and poised testimony before the Senate on Wednesday make that abundantly clear.”
“With 33 years of experience as a CIA operative, including her current service as the deputy director of the agency, Haspel will step into the director role needing no ‘on-the-job training’ to tackle the myriad complex threats facing the United States around the globe.”
“She is known within agency ranks for her integrity, and is widely regarded as a serious leader who is prepared to lead CIA.”
HUDSON INSTITUTE SENIOR FELLOW REBECCAH HEINRICHS IN THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER: What More Could We Ask For in a CIA Director than Gina Haspel?
“What more could our country ask for in a director for the Central Intelligence Agency than Gina Haspel?”
“After Haspel’s confirmation hearing performance, that’s the question every senator considering opposing her nomination needs to answer.”
“A quick glance down Haspel’s resume shows she has more than enough experience under her belt … Haspel is a brilliant intelligence professional, an inspiration to all Americans, and deserves an overwhelming bipartisan vote in favor of her confirmation.”
(Democratic Senators Mark Warner and Heidi Heitkamp say they’ll support President Trump’s pick to lead the CIA. CBSN political contributor and Associated Press White House correspondent Zeke Miller joined CBSN to discuss how big of a win this is for the administration. Courtesy of CBS News and YouTube. Posted on May 15, 2018)
FORMER CIA ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS JACK DEVINE AT NBC NEWS: Gina Haspel Says CIA Won’t Restart Its Torture Program. Congress Should Believe — and Confirm — Her.
“Trump’s pick stands virtually alone as the most qualified professional in the intelligence business.”
“No one in the intelligence community can equal her experience in a combination of policy-level, leadership and field positions … I know first-hand what challenges Haspel will face as director, and there is no doubt in my mind that she is ideally suited to lead the agency.”
FORMER CIA OFFICER BRYAN DEAN WRIGHT AT FOX NEWS: Gina Haspel is a Great Pick for CIA – Why are Democrats Playing Politics with our National Security?
“Haspel is a brilliant intelligence officer with 33 years at the CIA.”
“She has devoted most of her adult life to protecting our nation and won awards for her outstanding performance.”
“Like all of us at the CIA, she’s never carried out her responsibilities as a Democrat or a Republican – but as an American patriot.”
COMMENTATOR CARRIE SHEFFIELD AT CNN: Progressive Outrage About Gina Haspel is Unfair
“Haspel is a public servant who started as a case officer in Africa, held the position of CIA station chief four times during her 33-year intelligence career, helped navigate CIA’s Russia operation, and was a senior-level supervisor in counterterrorism.”
“She would be the first career officer in 52 years to rise through the ranks to the CIA’s helm and be the first woman to fill that role … It would be unfortunate if Haspel’s career and our country’s safety were derailed because of the left’s politicking.”