(COLOMBO, LANKAPUVATH) – The US Senate has approved the CIA’s first female director, despite her role in the spy agency’s post-9/11 interrogation programme.
Gina Haspel’s confirmation in a 54-45 vote follows a partisan fight among senators about the CIA’s Bush-era use of techniques such as waterboarding.
Ms Haspel, a CIA veteran, once oversaw a so-called black site in Thailand after the 11 September 2001 attacks.
The former CIA chief, Mike Pompeo, left to become US Secretary of State.
Republican Senator John McCain – who was tortured during his more than five years in a Vietnamese prison – had earlier announced his opposition to US President Donald Trump’s nominee.
On Thursday, six Democrats crossed party lines to vote in her favour.
One of them, Virginia Senator Mark Warner, said Ms Haspel had told him the agency should never have resorted to so-called enhanced interrogation techniques.
He said she had pledged never to use such methods even if the president demanded it.
“I believe she is someone who can and will stand up to the president, who will speak truth to power if this president orders her to do something illegal or immoral, like a return to torture,” he said in a speech before the vote.