More than 50 former senior U.S. government officials from across the political spectrum have united to endorse President Trump’s nominee for CIA director, Gina Haspel, a veteran of the clandestine agency and its current deputy director.
Three former directors of national intelligence and six former CIA directors were among the 53 that signed a letter sent Monday to the leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is expected to soon hold her confirmation hearing.
“Ms. Haspel’s qualifications to be CIA director match or exceed those of most candidates put forward in the agency’s 70-year history,” the former officials said, adding that they expressed their “strong support” for her candidacy.
If confirmed, the Kentucky native would be the first-ever woman to lead the agency.
Ms. Haspel’s nomination is popular with her peers, but her years of experience during some of the agency’s most trying days — including her involvement in post-9/11 detainee waterboarding and prisoner transfer programs — will likely make her hearing contentious.
Monday’s letter confronted those issues head-on, praising Ms. Haspel for handling “some of the most demanding assignments around the globe” during more than 30 years with the fabled intelligence service.
Those signing the letter included: former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger; Michael Hayden, CIA director under Presidents George W. Bush and Obama, and National Security Agency director under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush; Porter Goss, CIA director under Mr. Bush; John Brennan, CIA director under Mr. Obama; James Clapper, director of national intelligence under Mr. Obama; Michael Mukasey, U.S. attorney general under Mr. Bush; and Leon Panetta, secretary of defense and CIA director under President Obama.