Gina Haspel, a 33-year veteran of the CIA, is the first woman to be nominated to head the Agency.
Today, Donald Trump’s pick to head the CIA will face questioning by the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Gina Haspel, a 33-year veteran of the CIA, is the first woman to be nominated to head the Agency, where she’s served as deputy director since February.
Unlike her predecessor, current Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Haspel is considered a relatively independent, nonpartisan choice. Her extensive operational knowledge of Russian spycraft and counterterrorism are also likely to be looked on favourably.
However, Democrats charge that Haspel is unfit to lead America’s clandestine service because of her past support of torture techniques on suspected terrorists at CIA-controlled ‘black sites’. The techniques have since been renounced by the US intelligence community and Haspel is expected to back this position in her testimony today.
Haspel is expected to clear the Senate committee hurdle. However, with Republicans commanding just a single seat majority on the Senate flow—and Republican Senator Rand Paul insisting he won’t support Haspel’s nomination—Trump’s CIA chief-in-waiting will require support from at least one Democratic senator, possibly more.
Democrats threatened by strong Republican challengers in this November’s mid-term elections, such as Joe Manchin and Bill Nelson, are most likely to provide the necessary support.