Haspel briefly ran a secret CIA prison where accused terrorists Abu Zubayadah and Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri were waterboarded in 2002, according to former US intelligence officials. Senators voted 51-43 in favor of her nomination in the 100-member chamber.
Haspel danced around those queries by saying she would not restart the program and that she supports the current "stricter moral standard" after Congress changed the law.
It will make Haspel, a 61-year-old Russian Federation specialist, the first-ever woman to lead the CIA, and the first director who spent an entire career in the agency's clandestine services.
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.
Her opponents argued that it wasn't right to promote someone who supervised a covert detention site in Thailand where terror suspects were waterboarded, an interrogation technique that simulates drowning.
Raha Wala at Human Rights First says the Senate's decision on Thursday to confirm her was unwise.
"With the benefit of hindsight and my experience as a senior agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one the CIA should have undertaken", she told Warner in the letter dated Monday. John McCain of Arizona, who is battling cancer and did not vote; Sen.
Haspel promised senators, at her confirmation hearing last week, that she would not restart the torture program if confirmed as Central Intelligence Agency director, even if pressed to do so by President Trump.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., said in a floor speech that Haspel "offered up nearly the classic Washington non-apology".
It voted on Thursday by 54-45 after a tough nomination process. "Gina Haspel advocated for torture".
Much of Haspel's over 30-year career in the agency is classified, which caused many Democrats to cry out against Haspel.
These lawmakers voted "yes" despite the pronounced and dramatic opposition of concerned citizens, civil libertarians, former government officials, and human rights groups over her role in the Bush administration's post-9/11 torture regime and subsequent destruction of evidence. Mark Warner, of Virginia, Sen. Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire. As acting director of the agency, Haspel was able to decide what documents should be made public.
Haspel received robust backing from former intelligence, diplomatic, military and national security officials.
These explanations seem to convince Warner, who supported her and was convinced that Haspel "is someone who will stand up and confront president if he orders him to do something illegal or immoral, like returning to torture".