Haspel, the current deputy director, takes the helm at a time of shifting alliances and intelligence threats from Iran to North Korea to Russian Federation, unfolding after President Trump tried to cast doubt on the intelligence community's judgment as part of his broader attack on the investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election. The controversial practice, which simulates drowning, has been likened to torture but supporters say it has helped extract valuable information from hardened terrorists.
"After 9/11 ... I stepped up".
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said in a floor speech that Haspel "offered up nearly the classic Washington nonapology".
Haspel will replace Mike Pompeo at the head of the agency.
Ms Haspel, who will be the first woman director of the CIA, is a 33-year veteran at the agency now serving as its acting director.
"I am grateful to President Trump for the opportunity, and humbled by his confidence in me", Haspel said in a statement.
It was that period, from 2001 to 2005, that has cast a shadow both on the Central Intelligence Agency and Haspel's resume.
"Out of the spotlight, whether at Langley and deployed overseas, 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", said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.
"In this position, she assists the D/CIA in managing intelligence collection, analysis, covert action, counterintelligence, and liaison relationships with foreign services", the CIA explained.
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Nicholas Fandos is a New York Times writer. They said the US needs to close the book forever on the program that marred America's image with allies overseas.
"We're anxious about waterboarding as our enemy, ISIS, is beheading people and burning people alive".
Laura Pitter with Human Rights Watch says Haspel's confirmation is a "perverse byproduct of the USA failure to grapple with past abuses". He had opposed Haspel because of her direct involvement in the spy agency's harsh detention and interrogation program.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said in a floor speech that Haspel "offered up nearly the classic Washington non-apology".
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., called President Donald Trump's choice of Haspel to lead the agency "the right woman at the right time". "The CIA wants her to lead them into America's bright and glorious future!" the president tweeted.
Her nomination had strong support from inside the agency and across the intelligence community, where even strong opponents of Trump backed her. She is calm under fire. As acting director of the agency, Haspel was able to decide what documents should be made public.
The ACLU will carry on the fight for transparency and for Haspel to be held accountable.
Haspel received robust backing from former intelligence, diplomatic, military and national security officials.