Gina Haspel con­firmed

Demo­cratic ob­struc­tion­ists fail again to de­rail an im­por­tant ap­point­ment

The Washington Times Daily - - EDITORIAL -

In the end, the re­sis­tance didn’t work. De­spite much hem­ming and haw­ing, the nom­i­na­tion of Gina Haspel to be the di­rec­tor of the Cen­tral In­tel­li­gence Agency passed the Se­nate this week. The vote was 54 to 45, with six Democrats sup­port­ing her. Two of those Democrats are mem­bers of the Se­nate In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee, Mark Warner of Vir­ginia and Joe Manchin of West Vir­ginia. Their sup­port sealed the suc­cess of the nom­i­na­tion ear­lier in the week.

Other Democrats con­tin­ued to op­pose her. Sen. Ka­mala Har­ris of Cal­i­for­nia, mov­ing to the left as fast as she can — and risk­ing fall­ing off the left-most side of the spec­trum — as she lusts for the Demo­cratic nom­i­na­tion for pres­i­dent two years hence, op­posed Mrs. Haspel’s con­fir­ma­tion in com­mit­tee and in the full vote. Sen. Manchin is hug­ging the pres­i­dent as tight as he can as he strug­gles for re-elec­tion in a state that gave 70 per­cent of its vote for the pres­i­dent in 2016.

Nearly ev­ery­one agreed that Mrs. Haspel de­served the job on her mer­its. “Gina Haspel is the most qual­i­fied per­son the pres­i­dent could choose to lead the CIA and the most pre­pared nom­i­nee in the 70-year his­tory of the agency,” says Sen. Richard Burr of North Carolina, the Re­pub­li­can who chairs the com­mit­tee. Sen. Mark Warner pointed to Mrs. Haspel’s wide sup­port from Obama-era ap­pa­ratchiks — Mr. Deep State him­self, John O. Bren­nan, for­mer di­rec­tor of the CIA, backed her. Mr. Warner, not­ing that many CIA em­ployes are his con­stituents in Vir­ginia, said, “I be­lieve that she will be a strong ad­vo­cate for the agency’s work­force, and an in­de­pen­dent voice who can and will stand up on be­half of our na­tion’s in­tel­li­gence com­mu­nity.”

With Mrs. Haspel’s con­fir­ma­tion, she will be the first woman to lead the CIA. She is a ca­reer in­tel­li­gence of­fi­cer with ex­pe­ri­ence in many po­si­tions in the agency. Sen. Burr is cor­rect. No one has been more qual­i­fied.

The sturm and drang over Mrs. Haspel’s nom­i­na­tion was all about the par­ti­san de­ter­mi­na­tion to re­sist ev­ery­thing the pres­i­dent is try­ing to ac­com­plish. If the pres­i­dent were to nom­i­nate Barack Obama to su­per­vise the mo­tor pool at the State Depart­ment 40 Democrats in the Se­nate would man­u­fac­ture a rea­son to op­pose him, per­haps by driv­ing a car he en­dorses the in­ter­nal-com­bus­tion au­to­mo­bile en­gine.

In the af­ter­math of Septem­ber 11, Mrs. Haspel su­per­vised a se­cret CIA prison in Thai­land, where cap­tured ter­ror­ists were harshly in­ter­ro­gated. Those in­ter­ro­ga­tions in­cluded wa­ter­board­ing, the simulated drown­ing tech­nique that crit­ics call tor­ture. She was fur­ther crit­i­cized for de­stroy­ing videos of the in­ter­ro­ga­tion ses­sions to pro­tect the iden­tify of CIA agents.

Be­cause of her work in Thai­land, many Democrats and sev­eral Re­pub­li­can sen­a­tors, in­clud­ing John McCain and Jeff Flake of Ari­zona and Rand Paul of Ken­tucky, op­posed con­fir­ma­tion. Sen. McCain’s op­po­si­tion, de­liv­ered from Ari­zona, where he is gravely ill, in­spired the me­dia ca­coph­ony against Mrs. Haspel. He was not able to vote.

Mrs. Haspel was fol­low­ing stan­dard CIA pro­to­col in Thai­land at the time. The wa­ter­board­ing, how­ever harsh, gleaned vi­tal in­tel­li­gence from 9/11 master­mind Khalid Sheikh Muham­mad in a CIA prison in Poland, not Thai­land. But in Thai­land, too, Mrs. Haspel says “valu­able in­for­ma­tion” was gleaned form ter­ror­ist de­tainees. The pas­sage of 17 years has dimmed pub­lic mem­ory of the wide­spread terror of those days af­ter the de­struc­tion of the World Trade Cen­ter in New York City.

Whether wa­ter­board­ing is tor­ture is moot now. Mrs. Haspel now says cer­tain as­pects of the “en­hanced in­ter­ro­ga­tion pro­gram” were a mis­take: “The pro­gram ul­ti­mately did dam­age to our of­fi­cers and our stand­ing in the world. With the ben­e­fit of hind­sight and my ex­pe­ri­ence as a se­nior agency leader, the en­hanced in­ter­ro­ga­tion pro­gram is not one the CIA should have un­der­taken,” Mrs. Haspel said in a re­cent let­ter to the In­tel­li­gence Com­mit­tee. She was clear in her con­gres­sional tes­ti­mony as well: “Hav­ing served in that tu­mul­tuous time, I can of­fer you my per­sonal com­mit­ment, clearly and with­out reser­va­tion, that un­der my lead­er­ship, C.I.A. will not restart such a de­ten­tion and in­ter­ro­ga­tion pro­gram.”

That was good enough for a ma­jor­ity of the Se­nate, and it’s good enough for the Amer­i­can pub­lic. It’s prob­a­bly not good enough for the Demo­cratic ob­struc­tion­ists who dream of de­stroy­ing the duly elected ad­min­is­tra­tion of Don­ald Trump, by any means nec­es­sary. They will fail at that, too.

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