Gina Haspel has finally been confirmed as the first-ever female head of the CIA. After a long, contentious and politicized hearing process (but these days, aren’t they all?), the Senate Intelligence Committee voted 10-5 to confirm her, and the full Senate voted 54-44.
On the surface, Haspel would seem to be eminently qualified. She's a highly-decorated CIA officer of over 30 years, most recently serving as Acting Director after Mike Pompeo’s move to the State Department, and before that as the second-ever female Deputy CIA Director. But Democrats attacked her for running a CIA post in Thailand where terrorist suspects were subjected to waterboarding and other harsh interrogation methods (even though records showed she was transferred there after one of the incidents the New York Times accused her of being involved with was over) and her support for destroying videotapes of those incidents, which she said would have inflamed more terrorism and exposed the identities of CIA agents. Ironically, Democrats on the committee subjected her to a harsh interrogation over her support of harsh interrogations, but she eventually prevailed.
On the eve of her confirmation, new concerns were raised from Sen. Rand Paul about her close work with former CIA Director John Brennan (some have called her his protégé), who has since decided that his lopsidedly partisan, anti-Trump opinions should not remain covert, and he’s forged a new career attacking the President on liberal cable news networks. Paul wants to know what she might know about the emerging story of a partisan cabal within our intelligence agencies illegally spying on and undermining the Trump campaign and Administration. Some Republicans are concerned that Trump might have inadvertently promoted yet another anti-Trumper into a position of power where she’ll thwart his efforts to get to the bottom of the swamp. Although if Trump has to promote from within the high levels of those agencies, good luck finding any nominees who are completely uncompromised after eight years of Obama politicizing the system.
Let us hope those concerns prove ill-founded and if the agency’s Congressional overseers request documents from her, it won’t take the threat of waterboarding to get them.
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