Gina Haspel Sworn In

Mark Wilson/Sipa USA

Haspel Sworn In As Director Of CIA

May 21, 2018 - 2:01 pm
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LANGLEY, Va. (WCBS 880/CBS News) -- Acting CIA Director Gina Haspel was formally sworn in as the next director of the nation's top spy agency at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia on Monday.

Haspel, to a loud crowd of applause, said that she was "truly honored to have this opportunity to lead the best workforce in government." 

On Thursday, the U.S. Senate voted, 54-45, to confirm Haspel, one day after the Senate Intelligence Committee, in a 10-5 vote, reported her nomination favorably. Overall, six Democrats voted in support of her candidacy. Two Republicans, Sens. Jeff Flake (R-Arizona) and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), opposed it.

Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona), who is battling brain cancer, was absent for the vote.

During her remarks, Haspel noted that it had been nearly 50 years since a CIA operations officer like her rose up through the ranks to become the agency's director. "And after the last few months, I know why that is," she said, referring to her tough confirmation process.

Haspel's past connection to enhanced interrogation and her current views on the morality of the program made up the overwhelming focus of her Senate confirmation.

"It took courage for her to say 'yes' in the face of a lot of very negative politics and what was supposed to be a negative vote, but I'll tell you, when you testified before the committee, it was over," President Donald Trump remarked at the ceremony. 

The criticism surrounded Haspel’s role in a former CIA program to brutally detain and interrogate terror suspects at covert sites abroad in the aftermath of the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Haspel was adamant throughout her confirmation hearing that she would not restart previous "enhanced interrogation" techniques used by the Agency.

Haspel called her over three decades of service at the agency "more than a career, it's been a calling."

"I recommit that I will do everything in my power to justify the faith President Trump and the American people have placed in us," said Haspel telling staff at the CIA that "we cannot rest on our laurels." The agency must constantly learn, adjust and improve.

President Trump meanwhile called Haspel a "very special person," saying there's "no one in this country better qualified for this extraordinary office than you." Mr. Trump noted the loud applause for Haspel throughout the ceremony, saying she has the "universal respect and admiration of her colleagues at CIA and throughout government."

The president said that Haspel now leads the agency into its "next great chapter," adding that she assumes the role of director at a "crucial moment in our history."

(© 2018 WCBS 880. CBS News contributed to this report.)