Gina Haspel. AFP

The United States Senate on Wednesday approved the appointment of veteran covert operative Gina Haspel to become the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), despite her record of involvement in torture in the early 2000s.

The Intelligence Committee voted 10-5 to forward her nomination to lead the US spy agency to the entire Senate, virtually assuring final approval of her nomination.

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“Gina Haspel is the most qualified person the president could choose to lead the CIA and the most prepared nominee in the 70-year history of the agency,” said committee chairman Richard Burr.

“She has acted morally, ethically, and legally, over a distinguished 30-year career and is the right person to lead the agency into an uncertain and challenging future.”