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The Senate Intelligence Committee voted in favor of the nomination of Gina Haspel to be the next CIA director on Wednesday.
Haspel's nomination made it out of committee with a 10 to 5 vote, with two Democrats, Sens. Mark Warner (Va.), the vice chairman of the committee and Sen. Joe Manchin (W.Va.), siding with their Republican colleagues.
This week Haspel had picked up a few crucial Democratic votes which would get her confirmed on the Senate floor, despite opposition from GOP Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.), a red-state Democrat who is up for election in 2020.
“As Director of the CIA, Gina Haspel will be the first operations officer in more than five decades to lead the Agency,” Warner said following the vote.
“I believe that she will be a strong advocate for the Agency’s workforce, and an independent voice who can and will stand up on behalf of our nation’s intelligence community. Most importantly, I believe she is someone who can and will stand up to the President if ordered to do something illegal or immoral — like a return to torture,” the senator added.
The Virginia Democrat announced his support on Tuesday for President Donald Trump's nominee to replace Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after he had expressed concern over Haspel's “unacceptable” lack of transparency during the confirmation process.
“I'm going to support Gina Haspel's nomination to be Director of the CIA. I also respect my colleagues who have made a different decision,” Warner wrote in a statement on Tuesday.
“I acknowledge that this has been a difficult decision. There are valid questions that have been raised regarding the Acting Director's record, and I have been frank with Ms. Haspel that I wish she had been more open with the American public during this process,” the Virginia senator added.
Manchin, a fellow Democrat on the intel committee, was the first Democrat to back the Haspel's nomination shortly after her Senate confirmation hearing last week.
“I have found Gina Haspel to be a person of great character,” Manchin said in a statement. ”She has earned the trust of her colleagues in the intelligence community and her intellect, steady temperament, vast knowledge of threats we face, and dedication to our country are undeniable. These attributes make her supremely qualified to serve as our next CIA Director.”