U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Madison, voted Thursday against confirming the first woman CIA director, citing concern with her past role in and recent comments on the agency's use of torture.
61-year-old Gina Haspel will take over from Mike Pompeo who was recently made secretary of state.
On Tuesday, Haspel said that with the benefit of hindsight and her experience as a senior agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one that the CIA should have undertaken.
It became clear Wednesday that Haspel would be confirmed after she won the endorsement of the Senate Intelligence Committee by a vote of 10-5. Ron Johnson of Oshkosh, voted for confirmation of Gina Haspel. "She has acted morally, ethically, and legally, over a distinguished 30-year career and is the right person to lead the Agency into an uncertain and challenging future". John McCain of Arizona also opposed Haspel, but is receiving treatment for brain cancer and was not present.
Republican Sen. John Cornyn said in a floor speech Thursday afternoon that the Senate would be voting soon.
The 61-year-old Haspel, a Russian Federation specialist who spent her career in the clandestine service, becomes the first woman to lead the agency, taking over from Mike Pompeo, whom Trump recently made his secretary of state.
She ran a black-site prison in Thailand where a high-level terrorist was detained and tortured in 2002.
While in her hearing she notably declined to describe the interrogation methods as "immoral", she wrote in a follow-up letter to lawmakers that the harsh program "is not one the Central Intelligence Agency should have undertaken".
She is a career intelligence official, but her nomination has been controversial because she was involved in the CIA's post-9/11 program of detaining and harshly interrogating terror suspects. Mark Warner, a Virginia Democrat on the intelligence committee. She is expected to be confirmed after several Democrats joined most Republicans in saying they would back President Donald Trump's nominee.
"This was not an easy choice", said Warner, the vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee, about his decision to support Haspel.
Haspel has pledged not to implement an interrogation program of that kind again. The vote was largely along party lines, but six Democrats voted for her and two Republicans voted against her. Sen.
Among Democrats supporting Haspel are several who are up for re-election this fall in states where Trump is popular, including Sens.
"My questions about Ms. Haspel's role in the destruction of videotapes relevant to discussions occurring in Congress regarding the program have not been adequately answered", Flake said in a statement announcing his opposition.