Trump pick Haspel is 1st fe­male CIA di­rec­tor


WASH­ING­TON — The Se­nate con­firmed Gina Haspel on Thurs­day as the first fe­male di­rec­tor of the CIA fol­low­ing.

The bi­par­ti­san 54-45 vote saw six Democrats join­ing most Repub­li­cans in sup­port.

Se­nate Ma­jor­ity Leader Mitch Mc­Connell, R-Ky., called Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s choice of Haspel to lead the agency “the right woman at the right time.”

Be­fore vot­ing be­gan, Mc­Connell said Haspel “demon­strated can­dor, in­tegrity, and a forth­right ap­proach” through­out the con­fir­ma­tion process and “has qui­etly earned the re­spect and ad­mi­ra­tion” of in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity lead­ers at CIA head­quar­ters and abroad.

Sup­port­ers cited Haspel’s 33-year ca­reer at the agency. For­mer top in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cials said she earned the chance to take the helm of the in­tel­li­gence agency.

Among Democrats sup­port­ing Haspel are sev­eral who are up for re-elec­tion this fall in states where Trump is pop­u­lar, in­clud­ing Sens. Joe Manchin of West Vir­ginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Don­nelly of In­di­ana and Bill Nelson of Florida. Other Democrats vot­ing yes were Sen. Mark Warner of Vir­ginia and Sen. Jeanne Sha­heen of New Hamp­shire.

A pro­tester in the Se­nate vis­i­tor gallery briefly dis­rupted speeches ahead of the vote with shouts against the CIA.

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Haspel, 61, is a na­tive of Ken­tucky but grew up around the world as the daugh­ter of an Air Force ser­vice­man. She worked un­der­cover for nearly all her three decades at the CIA in Africa, Europe and clas­si­fied lo­ca­tions around the globe. Haspel, who learned Turk­ish and Rus­sian, was tapped as deputy di­rec­tor of the CIA last year. She worked un­der for­mer CIA di­rec­tor Mike Pom­peo until Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump moved him to sec­re­tary of state. She has been serv­ing as act­ing di­rec­tor.

Haspel re­ceived ro­bust back­ing from for­mer in­tel­li­gence, diplo­matic, mil­i­tary and na­tional se­cu­rity of­fi­cials. Among those who sup­ported her nom­i­na­tion were six for­mer CIA di­rec­tors — Porter Goss, John Bren­nan, Leon Panetta, Ge­orge Tenet, Wil­liam Web­ster and Mike Hayden — and three for­mer na­tional in­tel­li­gence di­rec­tors — James Clap­per, Mike Mc­Connell and John Ne­gro­ponte.

Wash­ing­ton Post photo by Melina Mara

Pres­i­dent Trump’s nom­i­nee for CIA chief, Gina Haspel, tes­ti­fies be­fore the Se­nate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., on May 9.

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