CIA Director Nominee Gina Haspel — Agency Spin Doctors Working Round-The-Clock (UPDATE: WashPost Open Letter)

“Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them.”

William Shakespeare

“It’s completely unacceptable for the CIA to declassify only material that’s favorable to Gina Haspel, while at the same time stonewalling our efforts to declassify all documents related her involvement in the torture program. The CIA has not been forthcoming, and Senators Wyden, Heinrich and I have again asked for declassification of relevant documents. All told there have been at least five requests for more information, but so far none has been provided. Senators and the public need to know more about her record.”

Senator Dianne Feinstein (April 20 2018)

“They are basically running a full-on propaganda campaign but withholding the information that the American people need to be able to make an informed decision about this nominee’s fitness for the job.”

US Senator Martin Heinrich

“Try to get a job in a Fortune 500 company when you’re known to have destroyed evidence. We can’t have a public or private sector where we just say ‘Well, I was just following orders.’ Golly day! Do you want that person to be director of the CIA?”

General Charles Krulak — Retired Marine Corps commandant & former member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

“Nothing but love for my friends at CIA, but this campaign by an intel service to forcefully push for the confirmation of its own (seemingly qualified) political nominee is beyond strange. Will they similarly amplify bad news stories & internal dissent? ”

Josh Campbell — Former FBI Agent (April 22 2018)

Gina Haspel — the current Deputy Director of the CIA and de facto its ‘acting’ Director — is using the Agency staff and resources to lie about her past in order to save a very criticized nomination. Ignore for a moment the role she played in the CIA torture program and her decision to destroy the incriminating evidence. Just ask yourself a simple question. Should this ‘public servant’ be allowed to use public funds to promote her own image? This propaganda campaign run by the CIA on taxpayers’ funds to promote a political nominee is wholly inappropriate. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today

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UPDATE (April 26 2018) — Aki Peritz, a former CIA counterterrorism analyst, has written an interesting piece regarding the ‘influence campaign’ waged by the CIA to promote Gina Haspel.

The title is rather explicit: “I was in the CIA. The agency shouldn’t be lobbying for Gina Haspel’s nomination.” It feels a bit reassuring that not everyone has lost his mind in this post-truth era.

As one learns when one first joins the agency, part of the CIA’s ethos is: ‘We provide information and analysis without institutional or political bias.’

So it’s disappointing to see that concept being undermined by the agency itself. This past weekend, the CIA’s official Twitter account retweeted a Washington Examiner opinion piece titled, “The parade of falsehoods about CIA nominee Gina Haspel.”

That came on the heels of what the New York Times termed an “influence campaign” by the agency to bolster Haspel’s nomination. (…)

It is inappropriate for the official social media mouthpiece of the CIA to speak out in favor or against anything expressly political.

The agency’s current director, Mike Pompeo, appears to understand that: The State Department’s Twitter feed is not campaigning for Pompeo to be confirmed as its next secretary.

It’s not even clear that the CIA’s official statements are correct in this case.

The Examiner article the agency tweeted out claims in the first sentence, “the overwhelming majority of CIA employees” support Haspel’s nomination. Really?

What data support this assertion? Was there a poll of current CIA employees that asked this specific question? (…)

Gina Haspel might be a superb CIA director. She also might be hamstrung by the events of the recent past.

The president nominated her, and the U.S. Senate will now provide advice and consent.

It’s not up to U.S. government entities to lobby Congress for — or against — their preferred candidate.

BTW — It would appear that the CIA got the message. They have not tweeted about Gina Haspel since April 20. Let us hope that the Agency will stay of this political process.

There are already rumours that “dirt” could hurt Senators who oppose Haspel while the spooks have already bought a couple of Dem votes just in case they would be needed. What goes around certainly comes around… But that is just “Gossip Intelligence” (GOSINT).

END of UPDATE

The CIA is waging an “influence Campaign” — something also known as propaganda when the ‘others’ are doing it– in order to help the confirmation of Gina Haspel.

First thing first. Let me be clear about one thing: This is not an opinion or a rumour. It is a fact and there is no denying.

“If it appears C.I.A. is being more robust than normal in supporting this nomination, that’s because we are,” Ryan Trapani — a spokesman for the agency — said.

General Charles C. Krulak — the former Marine Corps commandant — believes that Gina Haspel is unfit to lead the C.I.A. because of her role in the interrogation program and destroying the videos.

More than 100 retired generals and admirals openly agree.

“We do not accept efforts to excuse her actions relating to torture and other unlawful abuse of detainees by offering that she was ‘just following orders’.

We did not accept the ‘just following orders’ justification after World War II, and we should not accept it now.”

This CIA propaganda campaign is truly disturbing. John Sipher — who once ran the CIA covert operations against the Russians — finds it “kinda creepy”. And the former spook knows a few things about creepiness.

On Friday (April 20 2018), the CIA declassified a memo claiming Haspel was cleared years ago of wrongdoing in the destruction of the 92 videotapes showing terror suspects being waterboarded after 9/11. According to a released CIA email, Haspel appears quite a bit on these tapes.

A former CIA officer told Intel Today:

“This [partial declassification] is angering senators. They want everything declassified, not just selective bullshit that exonerated Haspel.”

As former FBI Ali Soufan — Please, watch “The Looming Tower” miniseries! — tweeted:

“Selective declassification is misinformation.”

For now, one thing is certain. Senator Feinstein is not amuzed.

“It’s completely unacceptable for the CIA to declassify only material that’s favorable to Gina Haspel, while at the same time stonewalling our efforts to declassify all documents related her involvement in the torture program,” she said in a statement, responding to the release of the redacted memorandum.

“The CIA has not been forthcoming . . . senators and the public need to know more about her record.”

Haspel will appear before the Senate committee on May 9 2018. Get the popcorn ready. It is going to be quite a show!

“Through the confirmation process, the American public will get to know Ms. Haspel for the first time,” said Jonathan Liu, a CIA spokesman. “When they do, we are confident America will be proud to have her as the next CIA director.”

PS: The Morell MEMO is certainly very suspicious as I pointed in a recent post. Senator Ron Wyden appears to agree.

“Unfortunately, the Morell report is highly incomplete, raising far more questions about Ms. Haspel than it answers,” Wyden said.

“My concerns about Ms. Haspel are far broader than this episode or anything else that has appeared in the press.”

The CIA Propaganda Campaign

March 19 — Bipartisan Support for Gina Haspel’s Nomination to be CIA Director From Distinguished National Security Leaders

March 22 — The C.I.A. provided information to The Wall Street Journal

March 23 — News release: “I.C.Y.M.I.: C.I.A. Introduces Gina Haspel to the American People.”

April 3 — CIA tweets: ” The Cipher Brief — Haspel had no idea that she was a role model based on her success in the notoriously male-dominated culture of CIA operations. Gina worked with a high degree of humility & service, not thinking about her “brand” but rather the mission.—Carmen L Middleton”

April 9 — 50 former American officials wrote a letter to the chairman and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, urging them to support Ms. Haspel’s nomination. The letter was published in The Cipher Brief, a news site on intelligence seen as friendly to the C.I.A. The agency tweeted the story. [CNN]

April 9 — CIA tweets: “A bipartisan group of more than 50 former national security leaders sent a letter to the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence today supporting the nomination of Gina Haspel to be Director of CIA.”

April 11 — CIA re-tweets: “@SenRubioPress  Met with Gina Haspel, nominee to be the next director of the CIA. Given her experience as a career intelligence officer, I am confident that Gina will be a great leader for the CIA.”

April 20 — The CIA tweets: “The parade of falsehoods about CIA nominee Gina Haspel”

April 20 — The CIA declassifies a memo showing she was cleared years ago of wrongdoing in the destruction of videotapes showing terror suspects being waterboarded after 9/11.

April 20 — The CIA tweets: “CIA releases report clearing Haspel in destruction of waterboarding tapes … via @CBSPolitics

Oliver North speaks out in support of CIA pick Gina Haspel 

“With friends like those, who needs enemies?”

REFERENCES

How the C.I.A. Is Waging an Influence Campaign to Get Its Next Director Confirmed — NYT April 21 2018

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CIA Director Nominee Gina Haspel — Agency Spin Doctors Working Round-The-Clock

CIA Director Nominee Gina Haspel — Agency Spin Doctors Working Round-The-Clock (UPDATE: WashPost Open Letter)

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