A former Justice Department official criticized for being the principal author of the legal justifications for "enhanced interrogation techniques" was narrowly confirmed by the Senate on Tuesday as the top lawyer for the U.S. Transportation Department.

Steven Bradbury, a Washington lawyer who was a top Justice Department lawyer under President George W. Bush, faced criticism from senators in both parties before being confirmed by a 50-47 vote.

"Mr. Bradbury's memos were permission slips to torture,"

Republican Senator John McCain said on the Senate floor. "This is a dark, dark chapter in the history of the United States Senate."

(Reporting by David Shepardson; Editing by Peter Cooney)