Gina Haspel, President Trump’s CIA director nominee, sat through her Senate confirmation hearing this morning; I watched most of it. Naturally, I support the most qualified candidate in the last 60 years to get nominated. Naturally, if this was a Clinton Administration she would sail through confirmation. And naturally the cabal of Democrats present were petty, petulant, confrontational, and hypocritical. Yeah, you knew all that anyway, I just saved you 3 hours.

If I’m around I like watching these hearings mostly for the comedic value. Typically you have eminently  qualified folks  who have to sit through questions from unqualified politicians  who would rather mug it up for the camera and score cheap political points and know very little about the job description for which they assume they are the boss. Sometimes we see cringe worthy beat downs, like what she did with that dope Jack Reed comparing CIA agents to terrorists. Other times we marvel at the patience exhibited when the little terriers nip at their heels, like her question and answer session with Kamila Harris. It was like a toddler in a sand box trying to have a conversation with Albert Einstein. Harris is supposed to be the heir apparent for the Dems in 2020, such a simpleton.

Much like a debate, I heard the hypocritical nonsense thrown at her by the usual crew and was hoping someone would call them out on it. I didn’t have to wait long;

Naturally 99.9% of questions had to do with the interrogation program, a program that was not only legal but approved by every one of those hypocrites on the Congressional committees while it was in place. But, as we all know, they like to re write history to suit the needs of the present. Forget that in 2009 Obama declassified the Office of Legal Council memos and  promised all the CIA members that they would be protected from future scrutiny because the actions taken at the time were legal and had backing of both the Executive and Legislative branches of the government. Clearly some (Brennan) got that special dispensation, while others (Haspel) did not.

Many of the Democrats were not happy that much of Haspel’s CIA career is classified. Unlike Plame, Haspel really was a spook, spending almost her whole career in the clandestine service, running covert ops against hard targets.

Many Dem. senators wanted assurances that she would stand up to Trump if he asked her to do something she felt was not moral. I don’t recall John Brennan ever being asked if he would stand up to Obama if asked to do anything morally questionable like maybe a Drone strike that killed civilians.

Haspel will get confirmed, despite having to suffer fools on national TV.

16 comments

  1. a program that was not only legal

    Bull. Shit. It violated the UN Convention against Torture

    But, as we all know, they like to re write history to suit the needs of the present

    Bingo. You don’t get to reinterpret what torture is so you can claim it’s legal.

    She’s a hangover from a shameful and embarrassing period of your history and nobody involved should be even close to having a position of responsibility. But given the unscrupulous morons making these decisions and their inability to have any shame whatsoever, it’s not in the least bit surprising.

  2. was hoping someone would call them out on it. I didn’t have to wait long;

    But Haspel’s flaws are nothing compared with those of Cotton, who has surpassed Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) as the most disliked member of the Senate. He used his five minutes of questioning time to “clear up” and to “take exception to” the “entirely false” things his colleagues said, peppering his remarks with gratuitous partisan swipes.

    And then, he kept going.

    When Sen. Jack Reed (R.I.), the top Democrat on the Armed Services Committee, was questioning Haspel about moral standards, Cotton heckled his senior colleague from the other side of the dais.

    A few minutes after that, when intelligence committee Vice Chairman Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) was giving closing remarks about former CIA director John Brennan’s views on torture, Cotton interrupted again.

    Warner winced and looked over at Cotton. “Excuse me,” he said.

    Cotton kept on heckling. “That would be the same Mr. Brennan who supports her nomination!”

    Chairman Richard Burr (N.C.) hammered the gavel to silence his fellow Republican.

    “The senator will suspend,” he ordered.

    Cotton ignored Burr. “We need the full record on the record!” he continued.

    “No,” Burr repeated. “The senator will suspend.”

    Cotton still refused. “John Brennan supports her nomination!” he said, before quieting.

    Such an outburst, and rebuke, is unusual — but Cotton is no ordinary guy. Colleagues and staff on the Hill report that he can be as nasty privately as he is publicly, as uncivil to Republicans as he is to Democrats. He imputes ill motives to those who disagree with him. He served in the military but now treats politics as war.

    He is, in short, an embodiment of what ails Washington: no compromise, and no disagreement without disagreeability.

    It was Cotton who went to the White House to dissuade Trump from backing a bipartisan immigration compromise. When Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) observed that Cotton had become “sort of the Steve King of the Senate,” Cotton retorted that Graham “didn’t even make it off the kiddie table in the debates.”

    It was Cotton, too, who suggested that Sen. Richard J. Durbin (D-Ill.) and Graham were lying about Trump referring to “shithole” African countries — even though Trump and the White House hadn’t denied he used such language.

    It was Cotton who in 2015 wrote a letter to “the Leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran” discouraging them from negotiating with the Obama administration.

    It was Cotton who in 2016 denounced the “cancerous leadership” and “bitter, vulgar, incoherent ramblings” of then-Senate Minority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.).

    And, most revealingly, it was Cotton who blocked confirmation of Cassandra Butts to be ambassador to the Bahamas. Butts died awaiting confirmation, but before that she told Frank Bruni of the New York Times that Cotton told her that because she was a friend of President Barack Obama’s, “blocking her was a way to inflict special pain on the president.” Bruni reported in 2016 that Cotton’s spokeswoman did not dispute Butts’s account.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/tom-cotton-bests-ted-cruz-as-the-most-disliked-lawmaker/2018/05/09/1510051c-53d1-11e8-9c91-7dab596e8252_story.html?noredirect=on&utm_term=.d601fdbed3dd

    100% douchebag.

  3. It violated the UN Convention against Torture

    Bull. Shit.

    But we’ve been over that before, so I’m not going to re-hash it.

  4. LOL. Point is, shitty advice doesn’t make something legal, no matter how many creative memos you get someone to write to justify your desire to commit a crime. If your lawyer tells you murder is now legal and you murder someone, it’s still murder. They were rescinded for a reason.
    Just like going to the UN and asking for a resolution to invade a sovereign nation but then giving up and doing it anyway doesn’t make it legal.

  5. Unfortunately we saw a lot of splitting hairs during the Bush years on interrogations. The issue of what’s legal versus what’s moral is often a gray one on the battlefield, but it shouldn’t be once the bad guys get caught. If they’re POWs in all but name, then they should be treated as such.

  6. 100% douchebag.

    Gee, I didn’t think my esteem for Cotton could grow, thanks for the endorsement.

    Such an outburst, and rebuke, is unusual

    I watched the whole thing and did not see any of this. Perhaps you can provide a youtube clip to prove this actually happened.

    But we’ve been over that before, so I’m not going to re-hash it

    Of course he wants to re-hash it, he was wrong then and he is wrong now. Much like Carter, Obama, and Kerry always wanting to re-write history in an effort for a do over in the face of past bad decisions, deflection mitigates past embarrassment.

    We have a process here, at least in this country, which determines legality. Agents in the field are not lawyers, they must trust the process and the OLC’s memo’s provided clear and unambiguous guidelines. It listed all the legally permissible interrogation techniques with the appropriate safeguards. Every single action was cleared by the Gang of Eight, not only did all Democrats buy off on the program but some wanted even harsher techniques approved.

    Oh look, Trump just got 3 NK political prisoners released and he didn’t have to pay $400 million for them.;
    https://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/iran-payment-hostage-release-227170

  7. James Mitchell, the doctor who developed the program was on Foxnews this morning. He stated that Haspel not only did not run the program, she was never in any of the meetings he had with Rodriquez. She had no say in the program or could have stopped it if she wanted to.

  8. Of course he wants to re-hash it, he was wrong then and he is wrong now.

    We have a process here, at least in this country, which determines legality.

    You simply don’t get to redefine torture so that you can carry it out.

    James Mitchell, the doctor who developed the program was on Foxnews this morning. He stated that Haspel not only did not run the program, she was never in any of the meetings he had with Rodriquez. She had no say in the program or could have stopped it if she wanted to.

    So he’s disclosed classified information then?!

    Claiming “state secrets” privilege, government lawyers successfully argued that the CIA had never officially acknowledged that she had a role in the secret detention and interrogation program, and “to confirm or deny that fact would itself disclose classified information”.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/mar/14/gina-haspel-torture-trump-cia-director-pick-has-to-face-past

    I assume proceedings against him will commence immediately….LOL.

    She should declassify all relevant information rather than hiding it all, and then decisions can actually be made based on full information rather than the selective declassification carried out so far to make her look good. She can also clear up the issue of whether she destroyed evidence.
    But no, apparently Fox News (and Fox and Friends) call the shots….

    There has been no official confirmation of Haspel’s role as chief of base, and Mitchell has now gone on the record to say Haspel was not there at the time of the water-boarding of Abu Zabaydah. However, reporting by the New York Times indicates she did assume that role a few months later, towards the end of 2002, and would have played this direct supervisory role in the interrogation of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

    According to an internal 2004 report from the CIA inspector general, “psychologist/interrogators immediately began his questioning using Enhanced Interrogation Techniques”. On the 12th day of interrogation “psychologists administered two applications of the waterboard to al-Nashiri”, the report said.

    Three years later Gina Haspel, personally signed the order to destroy the videotapes of the Thai black site interrogations.

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/mar/14/gina-haspel-torture-trump-cia-director-pick-has-to-face-past

    That querying her role in a shameful and illegal part of your recent history is somehow something to be mocked and ridiculed gives a good insight of how fucked up things have clearly become on your dumpster-fire side. From her responses it’s clear she has no problem at all with carrying out illegal acts like torture, because she doesn’t believe they’re morally wrong (setting aside how counter-productive torture is).

  9. I assume proceedings against him will commence immediately….LOL.

    If you think about it for more than 2 seconds (try it sometime) you will realize that both things can be true. Rodriquez was the head guy, both Mitchell and Haspel worked for him. Mitchell said Haspel did not create the program, he did, that is standard knowledge, nothing classified about that. He also said she was not in the meetings he had with Rodruquez, BFD, we can assume that Mitchell was not in the meetings Haspel had with Rodriquez. Each (Mitchell and Haspel) had their own spheres involving the boss, neither was privy to meetings the other had with the boss. The interrogations were run through Mitchell, to what extend Haspel knew about the actual interrogations,we don’t know and neither does Mitchell. Mitchell gave nothing up that could even be remotely considered as classified.

    how fucked up things have clearly become on your dumpster-fire side.

    Geez, let it go, forchrissakes. You guys lost, it happens, there will be another election coming. For someone that doesn’t even live here, the angst you exhibit constantly, quite extraordinary.

    Oh, and still waiting for that you tube clip displaying all that bad behavior on Cotton, or can we just admit that Dana Millbank is the real 100% douchebag because he makes stuff up that gullibles [cough] buy at will?

  10. Oh well, if according to him she wasn’t in any meetings with Rodriquez, it’s all sweet. My bad, don’t know what I was thinking. You keep right on mocking those who have questions about illegal actions. I mean why bother having confirmation hearings at all right? Just sign em off.

    I didn’t lose jack. Sorry, I can only just see the warm glow of the fire from here, you’ll need to try a different tactic.

    Here is the first example of Cotton being a douchebag.
    https://youtu.be/o5Vq2kL256M
    He heckles at 4.21.
    No reason not to believe the rest since the first checks out.

  11. My bad, don’t know what I was thinking.

    Welcome to my world, I constantly wonder what you were thinking.

    You keep right on mocking those who have questions about illegal actions.

    No mocking on this end, just wonder why after all the years we kicked this around you still want to rehash the same stuff.

    I mean why bother having confirmation hearings at all right? Just sign em off.

    Well, we have a procedure to follow. I know how you just hate that word and would rather play by different rules, so confining, but you are going to have to come to terms with it. There was a procedure that the agents in the field had to follow, there is a procedure that covert agents in the clandestine service get to keep their missions classified, and there is a procedure to confirm CIA directors. Just because you don’t like it does not mean it is not valid or necessary.

    Here is the first example of Cotton being a douchebag.
    https://youtu.be/o5Vq2kL256M
    He heckles at 4.21.

    Yes, I saw that (not a heckle), as I said, I watched the hearings, but that was not what Millbank wrote. Millbank wrote that there was a protracted back and forth taking several minutes. I watched the hearings and heard none of that.

    No reason not to believe the rest since the first checks ou

    t.

    Of course, you got no evidence or tape to back it up, so lets just assume that it happened.

  12. No mocking on this end,

    Ha? WTF?
    Did you read what you’d written in your entire opening post?

    just wonder why after all the years we kicked this around you still want to rehash the same stuff.

    I like to keep correcting the record. There is no two ways about it.

    Well, we have a procedure to follow. I know how you just hate that word and would rather play by different rules

    On the contrary, I quite like procedures and rules. No idea what you’re on about again.

    There was a procedure that the agents in the field had to follow, there is a procedure that covert agents in the clandestine service get to keep their missions classified, and there is a procedure to confirm CIA directors. Just because you don’t like it does not mean it is not valid or necessary.

    Oh I see, you’re attempting to conflate these matters, to try and validate the Nuremburg defence. Good one.

    (not a heckle)

    Oh FFS.

    but that was not what Millbank wrote. Millbank wrote that there was a protracted back and forth taking several minutes.

    Can you quote that specific part?

    I watched the hearings and heard none of that.

    LOL, so even though we now have more than one account of the same thing, your contention is that Millbank just made this up? Is this one of your Trumpian ‘alternative facts?

    Of course, you got no evidence or tape to back it up, so lets just assume that it happened.

    I provided a second account confirming the second part. Plus you’re the one making the accusation, it’s up to you to provide the evidence. Sheesh Rich, don’t make me call you Alex.

  13. https://www.c-span.org/video/?c4728647/gina-haspel
    You can scroll down to the transcript and there it all is at 02:17:47.
    I guess it’s a conspiracy between the Dems and C-Span now then.

    If you dismiss reporting as false simply because you don’t like it…..well it’s consistent with being a Trumpian, and it leads to nonsense like this.

  14. So this was the second closed door session, OK, fair enough. Interestingly we have no video of the session, only the transcript, but even reading the transcript (thanks for providing, I was looking for that) Millbank still manages to get it wrong. Go back and check your link to what the transcript actually said. Millbank even manages to add gavel sounds for effect, too funny.

    LOL, so even though we now have more than one account of the same thing, your contention is that Millbank just made this up?

    No, I said I watched the hearings and saw none of that, then asked you to pony up some proof.

    Sheesh Rich, don’t make me call you Alex.

    Call me whatever you like. It is not unreasonable to ask for verification or proof to any links you use. After much prodding you finally did provide it (the transcript, not Millbank’s bastardized made up version).

  15. TBH, I knew there was to be a second “closed door” session but these are closed because real classified stuff is discussed and I did not think transcripts of classified hearings could be found. Since I saw the first unclassified session and none of that stuff you and Millbank claimed happened, this is why I was dubious.

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