Se­nate con­firms Haspel as first fe­male CIA di­rec­tor.

San Francisco Chronicle Late Edition - - FRONT PAGE - By Ni­cholas Fan­dos Ni­cholas Fan­dos is a New York Times writer.

WASH­ING­TON — The Se­nate con­firmed Gina Haspel on Thurs­day to be the first woman to lead the CIA, el­e­vat­ing a ca­reer clan­des­tine of­fi­cer to its di­rec­tor­ship de­spite bi­par­ti­san mis­giv­ings about her role in the agency’s bru­tal de­ten­tion and in­ter­ro­ga­tion pro­grams in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, ter­ror­ist at­tacks.

The 54-45 vote split both par­ties, with six Democrats join­ing most Repub­li­cans in sup­port. Re­pub­li­can Sen. John McCain of Ari­zona, who is bat­tling brain can­cer, was ab­sent for the vote.

Haspel, the cur­rent deputy di­rec­tor, takes the helm at a time of shift­ing al­liances and in­tel­li­gence threats from Iran to North Korea to Rus­sia, un­fold­ing af­ter Pres­i­dent Trump tried to cast doubt on the in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity’s judg­ment as part of his broader at­tack on the in­ves­ti­ga­tion into Rus­sia’s med­dling in the 2016 elec­tion. But it was Haspel’s past that trans­fixed sen­a­tors — if only for a few weeks — as they grap­pled anew with the ag­gres­sive in­ter­ro­ga­tion poli­cies of the Ge­orge W. Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion in the years af­ter the ter­ror­ist at­tacks. Haspel su­per­vised a se­cret prison in Thai­land in 2002 when an al Qaeda sus­pect was wa­ter­boarded there and sen­a­tors raised fresh ques­tions about her role in the agency’s de­struc­tion of video­tapes of in­ter­ro­ga­tion ses­sions in 2005.

Democrats and a hand­ful of Repub­li­cans pressed Haspel to re­pu­di­ate the pro­gram and sought as­sur­ances that tor­ture would not be revisited un­der her watch.

Haspel told sen­a­tors dur­ing her con­fir­ma­tion hear­ing that her moral compass was strong and that the agency would not re­visit such a pro­gram un­der her watch.

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