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Senate confirms Gina Haspel as CIA director

The Senate on Thursday voted 54-45 to confirm Gina Haspel as the director of the CIA. She will be the first woman to lead the spy agency.

Haspel had faced fierce criticism for her involvement in previous CIA torture programs, including at a "black site" in Thailand in 2002. Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), who was absent from the vote as he undergoes cancer treatment away from the Senate, had urged his colleagues to vote against Haspel, calling her previous actions "disqualifying." McCain was tortured as a prisoner of war after he was captured in Vietnam.

During her testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee earlier this month, Haspel had declined to say the CIA's actions were "immoral." But she was more explicit in a letter released earlier this week, saying that "the enhanced interrogation program is not one the CIA should have undertaken."