The nomination hearing of Gina Haspel to lead the agency is shaping up to be a bruising interrogation over Haspel’s role in the destruction of evidence regarding the CIA’s now-defunct enhanced interrogation techniques program.
Haspel, currently deputy director of CIA, has been widely praised by former officers, but her role in the destruction of tapes of waterboarding and other aspects of interrogation has led some lawmakers like Independent Sen. Angus King of Maine to express concern, undecided over whether to support her .
What follows are the contrasting views of two former senior government leaders: Todd Rosenblum, who served in the CIA, Pentagon and Homeland Security; and General (ret.) Michael Hayden, former director of both CIA and NSA.
Todd Rosenblum: “Hard Questions about Gina Haspel’s Appropriateness to Lead CIA”
By nearly all accounts, Gina Haspel has tremendous qualifications to be the CIA’s first female director. She knows CIA inside and out. She served with distinction in the National Clandestine Service for 30 years. She is CIA’s Deputy Director. Few challenge her substantive credentials.
But there is one glaring problem with her candidacy. Gina Haspel was a central actor in one of CIA’s most shameful moments. She and her boss at the time, Jose Rodriguez, directed the destruction of states evidence in direct contravention of a court order, the congressional oversight committees and the 9/11 Commission.
While already confirmed as CIA Deputy Director, the Senate must ask itself whether her leading role in the willful destruction of vital information is disqualifying.