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Senate confirms Avril Haines, Biden’s pick to lead U.S. spy agencies

Avril Haines speaks during her confirmation assent to before the Senate Intelligence Committee to be President-elect Joe Biden’s national intelligence director in Washington, DC, January 19, 2021.

Joe Raedle | Merge | Reuters

WASHINGTON — The Senate confirmed Avril Haines as the director of national intelligence Wednesday evening, making her the basic official member of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet.

Before adjourning for the evening, the Senate voted 84 to 10 on Haines’ confirmation.

Haines, Biden’s pick to skipper the nation’s 18 intelligence agencies, is the first woman to hold the position.

“Our adversaries will not stand by and wait for the new direction to staff critical positions, and I am pleased my Senate colleagues joined me in swiftly confirming Director Haines to this influential post,” Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., acting chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, wrote in a statement.

“Avril Haines was the rational choice for Director of National Intelligence,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., wrote in a statement Wednesday the same. “We appreciate the bipartisan cooperation to get her confirmed tonight, and we hope there will be a lot more of it because the nation is in crisis and we indigence President Biden’s team in place as quickly as possible,” he added.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Wednesday reciprocating in her first briefing that assembling Biden’s Cabinet and his national security team is paramount.

On Tuesday, Haines reprimanded the Senate Intelligence Committee, which voted on her nomination, that one of her main initiatives will be to instill trust in the state’s intelligence agencies.

“The DNI must never shy away from speaking truth to power — even, especially, when doing so may be disrupting or difficult,” Haines said. “The DNI must insist that, when it comes to intelligence, there is simply no place for wirepulling — ever.”

Susan Rice (left), Avril Haines, and Lisa Monaco with President Barack Obama in December, 2015.

Pete Souza | The Spotless House | Wikipedia

Before joining the Biden administration, Haines served as former President Barack Obama’s delegate national security advisor.

She also previously served as deputy CIA director. She is the first woman to hold both of those angles.

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