A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentuckian Gina Haspel confirmed as first woman director of the CIA; Senate vote is 54-45

Kentuckian Gina Haspel, 61, has been confirmed as the first woman director of the CIA, confirmed by the Senate on Thursday.

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) delivered the following remarks on the Senate floor regarding the president’s nominee for Director of the CIA, Gina Haspel:

“Yesterday, the Intelligence Committee took an important step toward confirming Gina Haspel to become the next director of the CIA. A bipartisan majority voted to report her nomination favorably to the Senate. I look forward to promptly moving to a confirmation vote. The committee’s confidence is indicative of the strength of Ms. Haspel’s testimony and her thirty-plus year record of CIA service. Throughout the process, she demonstrated candor, integrity, and a forthright approach to the committee’s questions.

Gina Haspel

“She displayed the talent and expertise that make her uniquely qualified to face America’s biggest national security challenges – whether in the area of counterterrorism or renewed international competition amongst great powers. Out of the spotlight, whether at Langley and deployed abroad, Ms. Haspel has quietly earned the respect and admiration of those who matter most – the men and women of the CIA, and distinguished current and former intelligence community leaders.

“The safety and security of the American people depend on capable intelligence leadership. Gina Haspel is the right woman at the right time.”

The Senate vote was 54-45 with six key Democrats — Mark Warner of Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Bill Nelson of Florida, and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire — voting for confirmation. Two Republican Senators — Rand Paul of Kentucky and Jeff Flake of Arizona — voted against.

Haspel is widely respected in the intelligence community. She joined the CIA in 1985, just a few years out of college and has held 20 separate jobs there, including seven postings abroad.

She faced intensive questioning during her confirmation hearing, mostly about her role in the agency’s waterboarding program which has since been suspended.

Haspel was born in Ashland and was a student at the University of Kentucky who transferred to the University of Louisville her senior year. She graduated in May 1978 with a BA in languages and journalism. She received a paralegal certificate from Northeastern University in 1982. Her father was in the U.S. Air Force.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment