- The Senate confirmed Biden’s nominee for director of national intelligence, Avril Haines.
- Haines was deputy CIA director and deputy national security advisor in the Obama administration.
- She pledged during a confirmation hearing that she would keep politics out of intelligence.
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The Senate on Wednesday confirmed President Biden’s pick for US spy chief, Avril Haines, by a vote of 84 to 10.
Biden nominated Haines to serve as the director of national intelligence, a vast role overseeing 17 intelligence agencies that saw an extraordinary level of politicization during the Trump era. She previously served as deputy CIA director and deputy national security advisor under President Barack Obama.
Haines is the first Biden Cabinet pick to be confirmed and the news comes just hours after Biden was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States.
At a confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday, Haines pledged to keep politics out of intelligence.
“To be effective, the DNI must never shy away from speaking truth to power,” she said in her opening statement. “Especially when doing so may be inconvenient or difficult.”
Haines also committed to assisting with putting out a public assessment of the domestic threat that the far-right QAnon conspiracy theory poses. She also said she would release an unclassified public report about the murder of the Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a move the Trump administration repeatedly stonewalled.
Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton initially said that he would hold up Haines’ confirmation until he got a written answer from her regarding a question at the confirmation hearing about the CIA’s “enhanced interrogation” program that was carried out under the Bush administration.
On Wednesday evening, Cotton lifted the hold and cleared the way for her confirmation after receiving a response.
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