The US Senate has confirmed Gina Haspel as the CIA’s first female director despite her role in one of the darkest chapters in the spy agency’s history.
It voted on Thursday by 54-45 after a tough nomination process.
Ms Haspel was a controversial choice because of her role in a former CIA programme to brutally detain and interrogate terror suspects at covert sites abroad following the 9/11 attacks.
Her opponents said it was wrong to promote someone who supervised a black site in Thailand.
They said the US needs to close the book forever on the programme that marred America’s image with allies abroad.
Raha Wala of Human Rights First said the Senate’s decision was unwise.
He said Human Rights First was putting Ms Haspel on notice that Congress and the American people will hold her to her pledge to never reinstate such a programme.
Laura Pitter of Human Rights Watch said Ms Haspel’s confirmation is a “perverse byproduct of the US failure to grapple with past abuses”.
Senate confirms Gina Haspel as new CIA Director, a dark day for human rights.— Human Rights Watch (@hrw) May 17, 2018
The vote undermines respect for fundamental rights and the rule of law. Statement by @LauraPitter pic.twitter.com/gtojHHYWip
Ms Haspel’s supporters cited her 33-year career at the agency.
Senator Marco Rubio said: “With her unparalleled CIA experience, she will hit the ground running and continue to lead the world’s finest intelligence agency.
“I look forward to working with her as she helps advance and protect America’s national security interests from the daily threats we face.”
Former top intelligence officials said she earned the chance to take the helm of the agency.