US Senate confirms Trump nominee Haspel as CIA chief

Latest news

    Haspel, a 33-year CIA veteran, has served as the agency’s acting director since April 26 following former director Mike Pompeo’s elevation to US Secretary of State [File: Chip Somodevilla/Reuters]

    The US Senate has confirmed President Donald Trump’s nominee Gina Haspel as director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), making her the first woman to head the organisation in it’s 70-year history.

    The vote on Thursday, in which Haspel won the backing of 54 senators, ends a tumultuous confirmation process during which her ties to the CIA’s historic use of waterboarding and other brutal interrogation techniques were widely discussed.

    The 100-member Senate is controlled by Republicans, who hold 51 of its seats.

    Senate Intelligence Committee approval

    Thursday’s confirmation comes a day after the Senate Intelligence Committee voted 10-5 behind closed doors to approve Haspel’s nomination.

    Despite criticism of her ties to the CIA’s former “enhanced interrogation” programme for “terror” suspects in the years after the September 11 attacks, Haspel will now become the agency’s first female director.

    Senator Richard Burr, the committee’s Republican chairman, said in a statement on Wednesday that Haspel is the best person to lead the CIA, saying she “has acted morally, ethically, and legally” during her career.

    Haspel, a 33-year CIA veteran, was the CIA chief of station in Thailand in 2002, where the agency ran one of its secret “black” prisons where suspected al-Qaeda detainees were interrogated using methods that included waterboarding, a form of simulated drowning widely considered torture. 

    Operations officer

    The Senate Intelligence Committee’s top-ranking Democrat, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, and four other Democrats expressed support for Haspel. 

    “As director of the CIA, Gina Haspel will be the first operations officer in more than five decades to lead the agency,” Warner said in a statement. 

    “Most importantly, I believe 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,” he said.

    During her confirmation hearing on May 9, Haspel said the CIA would not resume the programme and allow torture, even if she was ordered to do so by the president.

    Trump vowed as a candidate to resume waterboarding and promised techniques “a hell of a lot worse”.

    ‘Terrible message’

    On Wednesday, Gerald Staberock, secretary-general of the World Organization Against Torture, said Haspel’s confirmation would send a “terrible message by the US that torture is not a crime”.

    “Usually it should bring you to prison, but not into heading the country’s key intelligence office,” Staberock told Al Jazeera.

    “It’s a message to everybody in the CIA and the security apparatus that you can make a career while you torture people.”

    When Haspel visits other parts of the world she will have “zero authority” to speak out against abuse and torture, Staberock added.

    View the original article: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/05/senate-confirms-trump-nominee-haspel-cia-chief-180517194322350.html

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies

    In the same category are

    Iran’s Mossadegh ‘would have negotiated with Donald Trump’ US Secretary of State Dean Acheson (R) greets Mossadegh upon the Iranian PM's arrival in Washington, DC for a talk with President Truman in 1951 Te...
    Pakistan: Is Prime Minister Imran Khan up to the job? Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan was officially sworn in as Pakistan's new prime minister during a ceremony in the capital, Islamabad, on Saturd...
    Cristiano Ronaldo makes winning Serie A debut for Juventus Ronaldo forced two tough saves from veteran goalkeeper Stefano Sorrentino Cristiano Ronaldo has got his Serie A campaign off to a winning start, fo...
    Putin and Merkel discuss Nord Stream 2, Syrian reconstruction Merkel said she and Putin would discuss the prospects of a UN peacekeeping mission in eastern Ukraine Russian President Vladimir Putin has said a p...
    What may unfold in Syria’s Idlib and why is a ‘bloodbath’ likely? Idlib is home to nearly three million people, half of whom are internally displaced Just weeks after scoring a major military victory in the south,...
    Egypt’s Sisi signs new law tightening government control online Egypt is ranked 161st out of 180 countries in the press freedom rankings of Reporters Without Borders' press freedom ranking Egypt has rolled out a...

    Leave a comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.