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