Gina Haspel’s nomination as CIA Director was approved by the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed-door hearing on Wednesday, clearing the way for her to be confirmed as the first female to lead the agency.
Members of the committee voted 10 to 5 to advance Haspel’s nomination, with Vice Chairman Mark Warner, D-Virg., and Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.V., joining with Republicans to favorably report her nomination to the full Senate.
The vote came after Haspel sent a letter to Warner on Monday claiming she now believes the CIA should not have undertaken its enhanced interrogation program.
“While I won’t condemn those that made these hard calls, and I have noted the valuable intelligence collected, the program ultimately did damage to our officers and our standing in the world,” Haspel wrote.
“With the benefit of hindsight and my experience as a senior Agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one the CIA should have undertaken,” she added. “The United States must be an example to the rest of the world, and I support that.”
Haspel faced criticism for failing to speak out forcefully enough against enhanced interrogations, which she oversaw as chief of a CIA black site in Thailand.
In a statement, Warner said he believes Haspel is someone who will stand up to President Donald Trump if “ordered to do something illegal or immoral – like a return to torture.”
Democratic Senators Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., Heidi Heitkamp, D-N.D., and Bill Nelson, D-Fla., have also expressed support for Haspel.
Subsequently, Haspel’s nomination is expected to be confirmed by the full Senate as early as Thursday despite opposition from Republican Senators Rand Paul, R-Ken., and John McCain, R-Ariz.