Gina Haspel has spent her career as an undercover agent for the Central Intelligence Agency. She’s no politician or bureaucrat or think-tank wonk.
She’s a career spook. Haspel also should become the next head of the CIA, despite the criticism she has gotten from some quarters about her role in torturing enemy combatants since the onset of the war against terrorism.
I am troubled as well by her declining to declare torture to be immoral. U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called that refusal a “disqualifier.” I happen to disagree with the brave senator/war hero who knows a lot about torture.
Haspel did tell the Senate committee conducting her confirmation hearing that she wouldn’t “restart such a detention and interrogation program” on her watch. That program includes waterboarding and other forms of “intensive interrogation techniques.”
I am willing to take Haspel at her word, even though the president of the United States said more than once while campaigning for the office that waterboarding “doesn’t go far enough.”
Donald Trump has sought to place the CIA in the hands of a career intelligence officer. She knows her business. I have to maintain faith that she is alert to the fact that the nation — and the world — are watching her every move as she takes command of the nation’s top spy agency.
So, I will maintain that faith as Gina Haspel takes command of an agency that plays arguably the most vital role in our ongoing worldwide fight against those who seek to do us harm.