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President Trump congratulates Gina Haspel via twitter, as she becomes the first female Central Intelligence Agency director.

She was confirmed in a bipartisan vote of 54 to 45.

"As director of the CIA, Gina Haspel will be the first operations officer in more than five decades to lead the agency", Warner said in a statement.

Human rights groups, however, are lamenting the Senate confirmation because of her direct involvement in the spy agency's harsh detention and interrogation program.

The approval came after a political battle that highlighted one of the darkest episodes of the CIA's history and her own career: the 2002-2005 interrogation program that subjected a number of Al-Qaeda suspects to torture, including beatings and waterboarding. "At a time when our nation faces a myriad of threats around the world, I am confident Gina Haspel is the right person at the right time to lead our global intelligence programs".

On the other are those in the comfort of blue-state incumbency, including liberal leaders who may take on Trump in 2020.

He asked how the Senate could take seriously Haspel's "conversion on torture".

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Her extensive intelligence career at the agency began in 1985 and includes more than 20 different job titles most of which remain classified.

The most vulnerable of all Democratic Senators, West Virginia's Joe Manchin, who is campaigning for reelection in a state that overwhelmingly supported President Donald Trump in 2016, told his supporters that he supported Haspel because she was "an unbelievable public servant", who prioritizes the safety of America. The controversial practice, which simulates drowning, has been likened to torture but supporters say it has helped extract valuable information from hardened terrorists.

"I believe Gina Haspel is a patriot who loves our country and has devoted her professional life to its service and defense".

Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky and Jeff Flake of Arizona were among the Republicans who voted against Haspel.

The two-term Senator and former Governor of Virginia is the top Democrat in the Senate Intelligence Committee, serving as Vice Chairman of the committee since January 2017. Warner also sits on the intelligence committee which informs and oversees the nomination process. She did not say it is. For the majority of her career, Haspel worked as an undercover officer, at home and overseas. "I look forward to supporting her". Trump has referred to her fondly as "our Gina" and pushed hard for her confirmation, but it's not clear whether she can forge the same close relationship with the president as her predecessor, Mike Pompeo, who is now secretary of State.

"We had been charged with making sure the country wasn't attacked again", she said. Haspel also received the support of the editorial boards of New York Post, The Wall Street Journal, and The Weekly Standard.

"I am sure that she will be for Director Pompeo what Steve Kappes was for me - a trusted friend, lieutenant and guide to the sometimes opaque corridors of American espionage", Hayden said.