Avril Haines speaks during her confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee that she will be President-elect Joe Biden’s National Intelligence Directorate on January 19, 2021 in Washington, DC.
Joe Raedle | Pool | Reuters
WASHINGTON – The Senate confirmed Avril Haines as director of national intelligence on Wednesday evening, making her the first official member of President Joe Biden’s cabinet.
Before the evening was adjourned, the Senate voted 84-10 on Haines’ confirmation.
Haines, Biden’s election to head the nation’s 18 intelligence agencies, is the first woman to hold the position.
“Our opponents will not stand by and wait for the new government to fill critical positions, and I am pleased that my Senate colleagues, together with me, have quickly confirmed Director Haines for this important post,” said Senator Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Vice chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, wrote in a statement.
“Avril Haines was the right choice for the director of the National Intelligence Service,” wrote Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., in a statement Wednesday evening. “We appreciate the bipartisan collaboration to be confirmed tonight and we hope there will be much more of it as the nation is in crisis and we need to deploy President Biden’s team as soon as possible,” he added.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said in her first briefing Wednesday night that the gathering was of paramount importance to Biden’s cabinet and his national security team.
On Tuesday, Haines told the Senate Intelligence Committee, which had voted on her nomination, that one of her main initiatives would be to build trust in the country’s intelligence services.
“The DNI must never shrink from telling the truth to power – even if it can be impractical or difficult,” said Haines. “The DNI must insist that when it comes to intelligence, there is simply no place for politics – never.”
Susan Rice (left), Avril Haines and Lisa Monaco with President Barack Obama in December 2015.
Pete Souza | The White House | Wikipedia
Prior to joining the Biden administration, Haines was deputy national security adviser to former President Barack Obama.
Previously, she was also the CIA deputy director. She is the first woman to hold both positions.