“Ms. Haspel’s role in the post-Sept. 11 counterterrorism fight was both messy and complex. It included terrible mistakes and great successes. The expectation by some politicians and newspaper editors for her to simply label the C.I.A.’s efforts as an immoral failure is unreasonable and unfair.
As an executive responsible for a large work force, she has to find a way to make clear that she will exhibit impeccable judgment and speak truth to power without implying that her hard-working colleagues are moral degenerates. She cannot begin her tenure by smearing her employees.
But she did send a clear signal about clarity at the C.I.A. under her leadership: “I would never, ever take C.I.A. back to an interrogation program,” Ms. Haspel said, and added that she would not “put C.I.A. officers at risk by asking them to undertake risky, controversial activity again.”
Ms. Haspel’s biggest hurdle going forward is unlikely to be satisfying her congressional overseers or even tackling terrorist threats. Instead, it will be serving a president for whom truth is only what serves his personal purposes. Mr. Trump has recklessly attacked nonpartisan public servants and our justice system. It is just a matter of time before he feels threatened by his intelligence agencies.
In this sense, while it feels unfair to use Ms. Haspel’s nomination to re-litigate the past, it is indeed fair to press her on how she would deal with difficult ethical decisions as head of the C.I.A.”
Excellent piece by John Sipher. I accept his thinking on why Gina Haspel’s refusal to denounce the recent past torture of terroist suspects should be acceptable, as long as she communicates, as she has, that it went too far, and the US should not go there again. I am against torture, and I would like to follow John McCain and the NYT and be a purist on this one issue, but Sipher’s logical arguments hold.
Also, one pundit reported this last week, that Haspel was a middle manager, following the orders of her superiors, at time of fear and crisis. She was told that the Justice Department had determined that what she was ordered to do was legal. The work of those lawyers, working for President George W Bush and Richard Cheney, the VP, will be a stain on the honor or the US, forever, which thanks to over population, climate change and the Sixth Extinction, might not be that far off. Did anyone at the hearings ask her about these, the really great threats, that could destroy our way of life?
Gina Haspel apparently has the organizational skills and experience, to do this new job for her, of running the CIA. I will try to make time to watch her hearing on youtube.