On Wednesday evening, the Senate confirmed Avril Haines as the first official cabinet member of President Joe Biden. Before it adjourned for the day, the Senate voted 84 to 10 in her favor, making her the first woman director of national intelligence.
Haines will head the 18 intelligence agencies in the nation. She takes over this post with a lot of experience behind her as she was the first woman deputy national security advisor to former President Barack Obama as well as the first woman deputy CIA director.
After assuming her position Haines told the Senate Intelligence Committee, whose members voted on her nomination that one of her main areas of focus would be to build trust in the nation’s intelligence agencies.
She said that the DNI should always speak the truth to power, especially when the truth could be inconvenient or difficult.
She also said, “The DNI must insist that, when it comes to intelligence, there is simply no place for politics — ever.”
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., acting chairman of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence wrote in a statement that America’s adversaries will not wait for the new administration to staff critical positions and that he was pleased that his Senate colleagues joined him in swiftly confirming Director Haines to the vital position.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said that Avril Haines was the right pick for the post and appreciated the bipartisan cooperation that led to her swift confirmation. He added that he hoped that there would be similar cooperation as the nation was in crisis and President Biden’s team needed to be confirmed at the earliest.
In her first briefing, on Wednesday evening, the White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that putting together President Biden’s Cabinet and a national security team was of utmost importance.