NBC Promises ‘Brutal Senate Confirmation Battle’ Over Trump’s CIA Pick

On Thursday, NBC’s Today show predicted a “tough fight” and “brutal Senate confirmation battle” over President Trump’s nominee to head the CIA, current Deputy Director Gina Haspel. Citing Haspel’s involvement in the enhanced interrogation of terrorist detainees during the Bush administration, “which many call torture,” correspondent Kristen Welker touted critics of the pick.

“Facing new scrutiny this morning, the President’s pick to lead the CIA,” Welker proclaimed. While the reporter acknowledged that Haspel was “a highly-respected agency veteran,” Welker quickly turned to harsh criticism of the intelligence official: “But as the agency’s former head of covert operations, Haspel is likely facing a brutal senate confirmation battle, with questions about the extent of her role in carrying out Bush administration orders to waterboard detainees in secret prisons overseas, which many call torture.”

 

 

She highlighted “Republican Senator Rand Paul taking on both of the President’s nominees” and emphasized the Kentucky lawmaker “Reserving his harshest words for Haspel.” A soundbite followed of Paul blasting: “To really appoint the head cheerleader for waterboarding to be the head of the CIA. I mean, how could you trust somebody who did that to be in charge of the CIA?”

Welker added: “Democrat Elizabeth Warren tweeting Haspel is ‘unfit to lead the CIA.’”

Only after promoting opposition to Haspel, Welker did mention supporters: “But General Michael Hayden, who headed the CIA under George W. Bush, insists the agency is not going to repeat the past, defending his former colleague.” A clip ran of Hayden declaring: “Gina did her duty. Gina was asked to go do hard things on the behalf of the country, asked to do that by her director, by her country, and with the sanction and validation of the Department of Justice at the time.”

Rather than feature a lone soundbite of one of Haspel’s backers as an afterthought to “defend” her CIA career, Welker could have compiled a lost list of top members of the intelligence community universally praising the agency leader, including Barack Obama’s CIA Director, John Brennan.

Here is a transcript of Welker’s March 15 report:

(...)

7:04 AM ET

KRISTEN WELKER: Also at the White House, the dust is still settling from the President’s latest administration shake-up. With new nominees for Secretary of State and CIA Director, a new chief economic adviser, CNBC commentator Larry Kudlow, and the possibility of even more staffing changes looming.

Facing new scrutiny this morning, the President’s pick to lead the CIA, Gina Haspel, a highly-respected agency veteran who would be the first woman CIA Director. But as the agency’s former head of covert operations, Haspel is likely facing a brutal senate confirmation battle, with questions about the extent of her role in carrying out Bush administration orders to waterboard detainees in secret prisons overseas, which many call torture.

Senator John McCain [and] Republican Senator Rand Paul taking on both of the President’s nominees.

SEN. RAND PAUL [R-KY]: I will oppose both Pompeo’s nomination and Haspel’s nomination.

WELKER: Reserving his harshest words for Haspel.

PAUL: To really appoint the head cheerleader for waterboarding to be the head of the CIA. I mean, how could you trust somebody who did that to be in charge of the CIA?

WELKER: Democrat Elizabeth Warren tweeting Haspel is “unfit to lead the CIA.” But General Michael Hayden, who headed the CIA under George W. Bush, insists the agency is not going to repeat the past, defending his former colleague.

MICHAEL HAYDEN: Gina did her duty. Gina was asked to go do hard things on the behalf of the country, asked to do that by her director, by her country, and with the sanction and validation of the Department of Justice at the time.

(...)

NB Daily Appointments Congress War on Terrorism CIA NBC Today Video Kristen Welker Donald Trump

Sponsored Links