The Senate Intelligence Committee seems to be having a difficult time approving Gina Haspel’s nomination as the next Director of the CIA…
Which is weird because the reason they are giving for holding up her nomination wasn’t even a thought in their head when they approved her former boss, John Brennan.
The committee has been hammering Haspel for working in the CIA during the years after 9/11 when “enhanced interrogations,” and other questionable methods were used by our intelligence agents in the fight against terrorism. The problem is that Haspel was a mid-level agent at the time, and the Democrats on the committee didn’t seem to have any of these qualms when President Obama nominated Haspel’s boss, Brennan, to the position of CIA Director. This, despite the fact that Brennan was actually a leader in the intelligence community DURING the decision making process on “enhanced interrogations.”
It sure seems like the only reason the Democrats are standing in the way of Haspel’s nomination is because Donald Trump nominated her.
Republican Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR) agrees, and is rightly perturbed by this truth.
Senator Tom Cotton: Let’s turn to the circumstances of what the counterterrorism center was doing the day that you were there. I think Senator Collins asked an excellent sequence of questions that got at many of these points; I just want to tie a bow on some of them.
This was — these programs, or to the best of your understanding, approved by the commander in chief, legally approved by the attorney general and supported by the director of the CIA, who I point out at the time, was the former Democratic staff director of this committee. Is that correct?
Gina Haspel: That’s correct, senator.
Tom Cotton: You said that you were not a senior manager when those programs were created, is that correct?
Gina Haspel: That’s correct.
Tom Cotton: Was John Brennan a member of the senior intelligence service and the deputy executive director, at the time a senior manager in your opinion?
Gina Haspel: Senator, I believe Mr. Brennan was the deputy extern (ph) of the agency at that time.
Tom Cotton: And you’d consider that a senior manager position at the CIA?
Gina Haspel: I believe it’s a number four position.
Tom Cotton: For John Brennan, who was confirmed to be the CIA director by the following members of this committee, Senator Warner, Senator Feinstein, Senator Heinrich, Senator Collins, Senator King, Senator Burr, Manchin, Senator Wyden, and Senator Rubio.
Cotton went further, slamming his colleagues for tearing down Haspel, someone who has spent her entire adult life fighting for, and protecting her fellow Americans. She has put her life on the line, worked in dangerous situations, and has done her work legally and honorably. Cotton praised her life’s work and thanked her for all she had done.
Here’s his full series of questions:
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) will likely be the lynchpin vote in approving Haspel to become the next Director of the CIA. Here’s her series of questions, which focused primarily on the CIA’s use of enhanced interrogation methods.
Here is Gina Haspel’s full opening statement: