Gina Haspel: ‘The Right Person To Lead The CIA’

‘She Is A Person Of High Integrity With Valuable Frontline And Executive Experience As A Career Intelligence Officer’


SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “This morning, our colleagues on the Intelligence Committee finished their consideration of Gina Haspel’s nomination to be CIA director and reported her nomination favorably with bipartisan support. Senators heard about her thirty-plus years of CIA experience, spanning sensitive operations from the Cold War to the Global War on Terror. That background makes Ms. Haspel an ideal pick at this particular moment, when Secretary Mattis has explained that counterterrorism and a renewed great-power competition are two of the key challenges facing our nation…. Gina Haspel is the right woman at the right time. Her nomination has support from national security leaders and senators in both parties. There is no reason why her confirmation should be delayed …” (Sen. McConnell, Remarks, 5/16/2018)


Gina Haspel’s Nomination Advances With Bipartisan Support

“Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump’s nominee to head the CIA, won the backing of the Senate intelligence committee on Wednesday, paving the way for her expected confirmation to lead the spy agency. The panel voted 10-5 to advise the full Senate to confirm Haspel …” (“CIA Nominee Wins Senate Panel Backing, Confirmation Expected,” The Associated Press, 5/16/2018)

SEN. RICHARD BURR (R-NC), Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman: “Gina Haspel is the most qualified person the president could choose to lead the CIA and the most prepared nominee in the 70 year history of the agency…. She has acted morally, ethically, and legally, over a distinguished 30-year career and is the right person to lead the agency into an uncertain and challenging future.” (“CIA Nominee Wins Senate Panel Backing, Confirmation Expected,” The Associated Press, 5/16/2018)

SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA), Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman: “Gina Haspel has served our country with dedication for 33 years. In many ways, her story is representative of the thousands of people at the Agency and throughout the intelligence community who serve quietly, without recognition, and often at great personal risk, in order to keep our nation safe from those who wish to do us harm. Over the last year I’ve had the opportunity to work with Ms. Haspel in her role as Deputy Director, and I have always found her to be professional and forthright with the Intelligence Committee…. I also take to heart the strong support Ms. Haspel has among rank-and-file members of the intelligence community and from intelligence community leaders who served under President Obama. I’m going to support Gina Haspel’s nomination to be Director of the CIA.” (Sen. Warner, Press Release, 5/15/2018)

DAN COATS, Director of National Intelligence: “Over the past year as DNI, I have had the opportunity to get to know Gina and have developed a close and trusting working relationship with her. She enjoys the hard-earned respect of her intelligence community colleagues and the White House. Gina has often joined me and other senior national security leaders for intelligence briefings to President Trump; and he, along with the rest of the team, benefits from the unique perspective she brings to these briefings. Gina has clearly demonstrated that she is a person of high integrity with valuable frontline and executive experience as a career intelligence officer, one who is willing to speak truth to power when required on behalf of our nation. Her confirmation represents important progress for the community I represent.” (Dan Coats, Op-Ed, USA Today, 5/15/2018)

  • DNI COATS: “I ask my former colleagues in the Senate to do the right thing for our country by confirming Gina. She represents the best we have to offer as a country. Gina is a trailblazer who has earned this opportunity by serving this country in challenging assignments at home and abroad. I, along with the CIA and the entire Intelligence Community, am eager to have her at the helm of the CIA.” (Dan Coats, Op-Ed, USA Today, 5/15/2018)


Gina Haspel’s CIA Colleagues: ‘A Highly Effective Senior Leader,’ ‘Respected Throughout The National Security Establishment,’ ‘Unafraid To Speak The Truth’

MARK SPARKMAN, 30-Year CIA Veteran: “Thirty years ago, a newly-minted operations officer was dispatched by the Central Intelligence Agency to the front lines of the Cold War in Africa. That officer, Gina Haspel — recently nominated to be the next director of the CIA — was thrust into the most hostile operating environment on the continent. Scores of Soviet Bloc intelligence officers assisted the host government in its efforts to thwart U.S. operations. The U.S. presence was miniscule by comparison. It was in that context that Ms. Haspel was charged with managing the CIA station’s most sensitive case. She performed admirably and with distinction, putting her career on an upward trajectory as she demonstrated time and again that she could handle any level of responsibility or complexity…. Gina and I met in that CIA station in Africa. With each successive assignment, either in the foreign field or at CIA headquarters, she impressed her superiors, but also — and in my book more importantly — her peers as a dedicated officer who consistently performed at the highest level. She put in her time in the trenches, perfected her craft, and was ready to take on whatever assignment was in the interest of the agency and our nation.” (Mark Sparkman, Op-Ed, “In The CIA, Gina Haspel Found Her Calling: Protecting Our Country And Freedoms,” The Hill, 5/07/2018)

  • SPARKMAN: “She is humble, self-effacing, and has risen to where she is today because she cares deeply about the mission of the agency and the dedicated men and women who serve our nation. What is remarkable to me is that the woman from Kentucky has changed so little over the years. She remains an optimistic, caring and collegial person. I am confident Gina Haspel will be an excellent leader for the agency and a great addition to the upper ranks of our intelligence community and foreign affairs team. She has the requisite experience and is respected throughout the national security establishment. Notably, she is unafraid to speak the truth, regardless of the setting or audience. She is a consummate professional who always puts mission and the interests of the republic first.” (Mark Sparkman, Op-Ed, “In The CIA, Gina Haspel Found Her Calling: Protecting Our Country And Freedoms,” The Hill, 5/07/2018)

CARMEN LANDA MIDDLETON, Former CIA Deputy Executive Director: “I had the privilege of working with Gina for several years, and in addition to a highly effective senior leader, I found her to be a generous and self-effacing individual.” (White House, Press Release, 5/02/2018)

ROBERT RICHER, Former CIA Associate Deputy Director of Operations: “I worked closely with her for many years and know that she is the right person to lead the CIA as the agency addresses a world of threats. The Gina Haspel I know is a courageous leader, a selfless officer, and someone devoted to the men and women she has worked with and led…. She is a person with no political agenda, high moral character, great integrity and compassion.” (White House, Press Release, 5/02/2018)

ROBERT BAER, Former CIA Case Officer: I supervised Gina Haspel when I worked at the Central Intelligence Agency. I found her to be smart, tough and effective. Foreign liaison services who have worked with her uniformly walked away impressed.” (White House, Press Release, 5/02/2018)


Former CIA Personnel: ‘We Need More People Like Gina Haspel,’ ‘Everyone I Know Who Worked With Her Raved About Her,’ ‘A Consummate Intelligence Professional,’ ‘One Of The Most Accomplished Officers Of Her Generation’

JEREMY BASH, Former Obama Administration CIA & DoD Chief of Staff: “[Gina] Haspel is now the nominee to lead the CIA, the first woman to be so nominated but, more important, the first career CIA officer to rise directly to the post since Richard Helms was confirmed 52 years ago. Haspel has served as agency's deputy director for the past year, having previously served in senior roles in the directorate of operations and as chief of station in a major allied capital. During the years after 9/11, she worked on a range of sensitive counterterrorism missions. Quite simply, she is among the most qualified people ever nominated to lead the CIA.” (Jeremy Bash, Op-Ed, “Gina Haspel Is The Rare CIA Director Nominee That Both Parties Should Love,” NBC News’ Think, 5/02/2018)

  • BASH: “We need more people like Gina Haspel. Democrats and progressive organizations should be encouraged that a nonpartisan, professional woman has been nominated to be CIA director. Democratic and Republican Senators should welcome Haspel’s clear-eyed approach to Russia, her expertise in counterterrorism, her record of nonpolitical service and the fact that she is no crony of the president or anyone at the White House. Confirming Gina Haspel would send exactly the right signal to the intelligence community and the rest of the country about the importance of professional intelligence and service over self. We need that signal now more than ever.” (Jeremy Bash, Op-Ed, “Gina Haspel Is The Rare CIA Director Nominee That Both Parties Should Love,” NBC News’ Think, 5/02/2018)

AVRIL HAINES, Former CIA Deputy Director and Former White House Deputy National Security Advisor: “Gina Haspel is intelligent, compassionate, and fair. Moreover, Gina has an unparalleled understanding of the institution, the Agency’s work, and she will support the workforce -- all attributes the Agency needs from its Director.” (White House, Press Release, 5/02/2018)

JOHN E. McLAUGHLIN, Former Acting CIA Director and CIA Deputy Director: If you were picking a professional officer to head the agency I can’t think of a better person than Gina.” (White House, Press Release, 5/02/2018)

DAVID COHEN, Former CIA Deputy Director for Operations: “Everyone I know who worked with her raved about her. She will be a successful CIA director because of her knowledge of the agency: operational, analytical, technical, and supportive elements. She understands intelligence, the agency’s role, and its capabilities.” (White House, Press Release, 5/02/2018)

CARMEN MEDINA, Former CIA Deputy Director of Intelligence: “I think Gina Haspel would do quite well as director of CIA. She is a thoughtful professional who has a balanced understanding of CIA’s role: she knows firsthand the operator’s world but also understands the importance of analytic rigor and objectivity.” (White House, Press Release, 5/02/2018)

FRANK ARCHIBALD, Former Director of U.S. National Clandestine Service: “I never saw the moment be too big for her.” (White House, Press Release, 5/02/2018)

JOHN BENNETT, Former Director of U.S. National Clandestine Service: “… [Haspel] is one of the most accomplished officers of her generation, having held a series of major field commands and headquarters positions…. She is extremely smart, strong and unfailingly honest. She is totally committed to the CIA’s mission…. It will be very reassuring for the CIA work force that the president has selected a respected career professional to be the next DCIA.” (White House, Press Release, 5/02/2018)

MIKE SULICK, Former Director of U.S. National Clandestine Service: “[She is] calm, very unflappable, very smart.” (White House, Press Release, 5/02/2018)

CHARLES ALLEN, Former CIA Assistant Director for Collection: “As a CIA officer who served 47 years at the Agency, I welcome the President’s decision to nominate Gina Haspel to be the next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Gina is a consummate intelligence professional who deeply understands CIA’s extraordinary global capabilities, and the vital role it plays in helping keep the country safe.” (White House, Press Release, 5/02/2018)

ROBERT EATINGER, Former CIA Acting General Counsel and Senior Deputy General Counsel: “If confirmed, Gina will be a great CIA director. She is a very experienced and thoughtful operations officer who has held a series of leadership posts. She has the experience independently to assess the potential for success of proposed operations. She is also uniquely positioned to weigh anticipated intelligence gains against potential long-term losses. That strength in leadership, especially when learned in the ‘school of hard knocks,’ is today often undervalued …” (White House, Press Release, 5/02/2018)

HENRY CRUMPTON, Former State Department Coordinator for Counterterrorism and Deputy Chief of the CIA Counterterrorist Center: “[Haspel] is the best candidate, I think, in the last generation. She is a terrific combination of operational skill and field leadership… if confirmed, she will be the first operations officer to lead the CIA in more than 40 years.” (White House, Press Release, 5/02/2018)

PAUL R. PILLAR, Former Deputy Director of CIA’s Counterterrorist Center: “An insider obviously brings a depth of knowledge about the arcane business of intelligence that no outsider would have. Such a candidate also will be attuned to long-term institutional standards and equities and to the importance of finding ways to buffer the agency from political vicissitudes so that it can accomplish its mission. Haspel, who presumably will bring such knowledge and awareness to the job, gets high marks from other intelligence professionals who have worked with her.” (White House, Press Release, 5/02/2018)

JACK DEVINE, Former CIA Acting Director and Associate Director of Operations: “The first thing you think of is a professional…. I think she will show extremely well.”  (White House, Press Release, 5/02/2018)

ALEX BOLLING, Former CIA Chief of Station: “Gina Haspel has taken the hard field assignments and grappled with complex collection issues. She, like the organization, has been tempered in the crucible of mission-critical collection operations designed to protect our country at a time of war. The American people will be well served by a DCIA with firsthand experience from the front lines – and deep behind the enemy’s lines – in our nation’s longest conflict.” (White House, Press Release, 5/02/2018)

DANIEL HOFFMAN, Former CIA Chief of Station: “Having served multiple times as a senior leader in headquarters and the field, Ms. Haspel is adept at collaborating within the CIA and the intelligence community. She can disentangle the most complex challenges by rallying stakeholders in common cause. She fosters an inclusive environment by respecting different backgrounds and viewpoints and strives for the 360-degree optic, which best serves the mission. Congress should have no trouble recognizing the key traits that make Ms. Haspel the right choice to lead the CIA: integrity, substantive expertise in the art of intelligence, leadership excellence and commitment to our mission and people. She earned tremendous respect and admiration from CIA and U.S. government colleagues, as well as senior foreign leaders.” (White House, Press Release, 5/02/2018)

MARY BETH LONG, Former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs and CIA Officer: “Gina will do a fantastic job. She knows how the building works…. Most importantly, she has the admiration and respect of the workforce.” (White House, Press Release, 5/02/2018)



Related Issues: Nominations, National Security, Homeland Security