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US Senate approves Gina Haspel as new CIA head, despite torture claims Open in fullscreen

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US Senate approves Gina Haspel as new CIA head, despite torture claims

Haspel has a controversial past in the CIA [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 May, 2018

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Dogged by allegations of torture, Gina Haspel has been approved by a Senate panel to head the CIA.
A Senate panel has approved CIA nominee Gina Haspel, despite her controversial past in the agency that has been dogged by allegations of torture.

The intelligence committee backed Haspel's application to head the agency by ten votes to five, which will almost guarantee her appointment to the position.

"Gina Haspel is the most qualified person the president could choose to lead the CIA and the most prepared nominee in the 70 year history of the agency," said committee chairman Richard Burr.

"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."

Haspel's appointment would be controversial and hearings with the Senate committee have been met with protests by anti-torture activists.

In 2004, Haspel was the director of a so-called "black site" in Thailand, where Boudchar alleges CIA operatives punched her in the stomach and deprived her of sleep. 

She has since stated that she would not resurrect harsh interrogation techniques and secret torture sites that the CIA used in the past. 

"I understand that what many people around the country want to know about me are my views on CIA's former detention and interrogation programme," Haspel said during the Senate hearing.

"Having served in that tumultuous time, I can offer you my personal commitment, clearly and without reservation, that under my leadership, CIA will not restart such a detention and interrogation programme."

US President Donald Trump has backed Haspel's appointment despite his own support for controversial torture techniques such as waterboarding

Agencies contributed to this story.

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