The Senate on Thursday confirmed Gina Haspel as the next CIA director despite opposition from most Democrats and a handful of Republicans who blasted her role in the agency’s enhanced interrogation program.
Lawmakers confirmed her in a 54-45 vote. Six Democrats voted in favor of Haspel including several who face tough re-election races in November: Joe Donnelly of Indiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Bill Nelson of Florida. The other two were Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire.
Two Republicans voted against Haspel — Jeff Flake of Arizona and Rand Paul of Kentucky.
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., in his home state for cancer treatment, did not vote. The Arizona senator, who was tortured as a prisoner of war during the Vietnam War, was among the few Republicans who came out against Haspel, announcing his opposition in a recent statement.
Haspel is the first woman to serve as director of the CIA, succeeding Mike Pompeo, who was recently confirmed as secretary of state.