The U.S. Senate confirmed on Thursday that Gina Haspel has become the first women in history to run the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
Haspel is a 33-year veteran at the CIA and had previously been serving as its Director. Senators voted 51-43 in favor of her nomination in the 100-member chamber. Haspel was voted in despite disapproval over her links to the CIA’s use of harsh interrogation methods following the Sept. 11 attacks.
She worked as an undercover officer for most of her career with the CIA. In 2002 Haspel served as the CIA station chief in Thailand, where the agency reportedly conducted harsh interrogations at a secret prison using the waterboarding method where prisoners are drowned for information. In 2005 she ordered for the destruction of videotapes of those interrogations.
Republican Senator John McCain reportedly urged the Senate not to vote for Haspel saying that it is not “as right and just as the values we aspire to live up to and promote in the world.”
However, Democratic Senator Mark Warner supported the vote.
“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 Senate speech before the vote.
Take a look at Gina Haspel below.