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Senate confirms first member to Biden’s cabinet; Avril Haines first woman to oversee US intelligence

Biden Cabinet National Security
Posted at 7:09 PM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 19:09:10-05

The US Senate confirmed Avril Haines as the new director of national intelligence on Wednesday, marking the first confirmation to President Joe Biden’s cabinet.

Haines was confirmed by a 84-10 vote.

The director of national intelligence oversees the US intelligence apparatus, which includes the CIA, Office of Intelligence and Counterintelligence and National Security Agency.

Haines is the first woman to lead the intelligence community. The position was created in the wake of 9/11.

Haines will replace John Ratcliffe, who served as President Donald Trump’s director of national intelligence for eight months.

During her confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Haines pledged to keep politics from the intelligence community.

“To be effective, the DNI must never shy away from speaking truth to power --- even, especially, when doing so may be inconvenient or difficult,” Haines said. “To safeguard the integrity of our intelligence community, the DNI must insist that, when it comes to intelligence, there is simply no place for politics ever."

Haines said that it would be a priority to strengthen America’s cybersecurity defense.

“We must strengthen our cybersecurity, safeguard our critical infrastructure, and turn the ongoing technological revolution from a threat to an advantage by integrating new technologies to improve the capacity and superiority of our intelligence into the future,” Haines said.

Haines was the head of the CIA under President Barack Obama from 2013 to 2015, and then was the deputy national security adviser from 2015 until the end of Obama’s term in 2017.