- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Senate Minority Whip Richard J. Durbin has criticized the CIA’s lobbying efforts on behalf of President Trump’s nominee to lead the intelligence agency, Gina Haspel.

In a letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats on Tuesday, the Illinois Democrat noted what he considered the CIA’s “efforts to promote a national security nomination” which “appear to be without precedent in recent history.”

The agency’s current deputy director, Ms. Haspel is scheduled to appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday for a confirmation hearing expected to focus on her role in harsh post 9/11 interrogation techniques the CIA used on terrorism suspects and widely criticized as torture.

After the Senate panel votes on her nomination, the full Senate will then consider Ms. Haspel, who would be the agency’s first female director if confirmed.

Widely respected across America’s intelligence community, Ms. Haspel’s confirmation vote, however, is seen as toss up given the Senate’s tight 51-49 party split.



To win, it appears she’ll need some support from Democrats because Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, has announced his opposition and Sen. John McCain, Arizona Republican, will likely miss the vote as a result of battling brain cancer.

On Tuesday, Ms. Haspel made the rounds on Capitol Hill, privately meeting with lawmakers including vocal critic, Senate Intelligence panel member Ron Wyden, Oregon Democrat.

Mr. Wyden has pushed for the CIA to declassify more about Ms. Haspel’s lengthy undercover career with the agency and on Tuesday told CNN’s Manu Raju “there is literally an A to Z coverup going on here.”

Mr. Wyden added, “what you have is selective declassification; you have a public influence campaign being waged by the agency and just a boatload of misinformation.”

She also gathered with top Democrat on the Senate Armed Services committee, Jack Reed, Rhode Island Democrat, who also sits on the intelligence committee.

In Mr. Durbin’s letter, which lists a range of activities the CIA has taken to support her nomination, he argues that the lobbying effort clashes with the agency’s goal of providing policymakers objective intelligence.

“The need for intelligence agencies to remain on the right side of this line requires a standard of conduct that, in my judgment, exceeds the standards we may expect of other agencies with policy making responsibilities,” Mr. Durbin wrote.

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