“I supervised Gina Haspel when I worked at the Central Intelligence Agency. I found her to be smart, tough and effective. Foreign liaison services who have worked with her uniformly walked away impressed. Out of all of the chaos coming out of the White House these days, the one bit of promising news is the nomination of Haspel as the new CIA director.”
Former CIA Robert Baer
Gina Haspel has been tapped to replace CIA director Mike Pompeo as the new boss of the agency, after President Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and named Pompeo his successor. If confirmed, Haspel will be the first female director of the CIA, but there is some controversy surrounding her nomination. Many believe that Haspel is the wrong person to lead the CIA. Former CIA Robert Baer really disagrees. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today
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A few days ago, I asked Robert Baer what he thought about Trump’s nomination for CIA Director. His answer was clear and simple:
“She’s good. Smart, tough, fact based. 33 years in the CIA will serve her well in the Oval Office.”
On March 19 2018, NPR published a letter from Mr Baer. It reads:
“Confessing to a certain bias, I hope Haspel’s long tenure overseas will give the Trump administration an experienced, pragmatic view of the world it increasingly thinks it can do without. Locating, say, Kandahar, Afghanistan, on a map may sound like a low bar, but these days it’s enough to qualify you as an expert.
Equally important, with all the rampant partisanship in Washington, D.C., Haspel’s political neutrality and fact-based intellect will, I hope, put a brake on President Trump’s worst impulses. Not having the time for conspiracy theories and alt-right drivel may be another low bar, but there you have it.
In the interest of the CIA Haspel is a fortunate choice because, for too long, the CIA has been run by amateurs and political operatives who spend their time figuring out how the agency works. With Haspel’s 33 years in the CIA, both in the field and back at Langley, there’s going to be no catch-up ball. Nor are the bureaucratic rank and file going to pull the wool over her eyes.
Another thing Haspel’s nomination has going for it is that she gets along with Trump. I’ve worked under directors whom the president didn’t trust, and even some who weren’t welcome at the White House. Both cases were demoralizing for agency employees.
Secondly, Haspel also clearly gets along with Mike Pompeo. A good working relationship with the secretary of state is vital for the success of a CIA director.
With every silver cloud, of course, there’s the inevitable lead lining. For Haspel, it’s her involvement with the CIA rendition, detention and interrogation program. I do not know what Haspel truly thought or thinks about torture today, or even whether she, like me, believes it doesn’t work. She will be asked these questions when she testifies before Congress. But what her critics and Congress must accept is that the CIA operates under American law. “Enhanced interrogations” were not a rogue CIA program.
What the far left and right can’t absorb is that the CIA follows political direction from the White House and the Hill. But more to the point concerning enhanced interrogation, the CIA takes its legal guidance from the courts, the Department of Justice and Congress. Like the police, an individual CIA officer does not get to decide what is legal and what isn’t, let alone come up with a personal interpretation of whether an interrogation violates the United Nations Convention against Torture or not.
Haspel was not the architect of the CIA’s enhanced interrogations. This program was parachuted onto the CIA’s Directorate of Operations, made all the more ambiguous because it occurred in the panic of the opening days of the “war on terror.”
Agreed, Haspel could have resigned and found an avenue of protest. But it seems to me that the real protesting should have been done in the halls of Congress and the Department of Justice.
In any event, her experience in intelligence and ability to moderate the president’s worst instincts outweigh these failures.”
Trump nominates Gina Haspel for CIA director
Gina Haspel Used To Work For Me. She’s A Great Choice For CIA Director — NPR
Former CIA Robert Baer : “Gina Haspel Used To Work For Me. She’s A Great Choice For CIA Director.”