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Wednesday July 17th, 2019 12:38PM

The Latest: Human rights groups decry confirmation of Haspel

By The Associated Press
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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on a vote to confirm Gina Haspel as CIA director (all times local):

4:15 p.m.

Human rights groups are lamenting the Senate confirmation of Gina Haspel to be CIA director because of her direct involvement in the spy agency's harsh detention and interrogation program.

Raha Wala at Human Rights First says the Senate's decision on Thursday to confirm her was unwise. He says Human Rights First is putting Haspel on notice that Congress and the American people will hold her to her pledge to never reinstate such a program in the future.

Laura Pitter with Human Rights Watch says Haspel's confirmation is a "perverse byproduct of the U.S. failure to grapple with past abuses."

Supporters cited Haspel's 33-year career at the agency. Former top intelligence officials said she earned the chance to take the helm of the intelligence agency.

___

3:55 p.m.

The Senate has confirmed Gina Haspel as the first female director of the CIA following a rocky nomination process that reopened debate about one of the darkest chapters in the spy agency's history.

Thursday's vote was 54-45. Republican John McCain was absent.

Haspel's nomination was contentious because of her role in a former CIA program to brutally detain and interrogate terror suspects at covert sites abroad following Sept. 11.

Her opponents said it wasn't right to promote someone who supervised a black site in Thailand. They said the U.S. needs to close the book forever on the program that marred America's image with allies abroad.

Haspel's supporters cited her 33-year career at the agency. Former top intelligence officials said she earned the chance to take the helm of the intelligence agency.

___

2:10 p.m.

The Senate is set to vote Thursday to confirm Gina Haspel as the first female director at the CIA.

Haspel's nomination to lead the spy agency revived a debate on its now-banned torture program. She is expected to be confirmed after several Democrats joined most Republicans in saying they would back President Donald Trump's nominee.

Republican Sen. John Cornyn said in a floor speech Thursday afternoon that the Senate would be voting soon.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was able to push voting past opponents, including ailing Sen. John McCain, who urged senators to reject her. He is home in Arizona and will not be voting on the nomination.

___

12:40 a.m.

Political divisions within the Democratic Party are playing out in the vote to confirm President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the CIA.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has sent the nomination to the full Senate by a 10-5 vote, and her confirmation seems all but certain.

On one side of the Democratic divide is a growing list of a half-dozen senators whom many see as the future of the big-tent party. They are rural, noncoastal representatives of states won by Trump, places where some say the party needs to win back voters.

On the other are those in the comfort of blue-state incumbency, including liberal leaders who may take on Trump in 2020.

Their opposition to Haspel fuels a fired-up base pushing for a more progressive, battle-tested party.

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