What Changed, Dems?

How Can 50 Senate Democrats Vote To Confirm John Brennan, But Not Gina Haspel?


“Senate Democrats gave President Trump’s CIA nominee Gina Haspel a fierce grilling Wednesday over the post-9/11 ‘enhanced interrogation’ program, which is fair enough. The question is, how many will vote against her — after they voted to confirm President Barack Obama’s CIA pick, John Brennan, back in 2013? Brennan, after all, was also deeply involved in the use of waterboarding and other now-controversial techniques to gain vital intelligence from captured terrorists.” (Editorial, “Gina Haspel’s Hypocritical Critics,” New York Post, 5/09/2018)

SEN. JOHN CORNYN (R-TX): “Mr. Brennan, he had direct personal knowledge of the interrogation program that many have questioned Ms. Haspel about, when she told us that she was not a part of it, had not been read into the program, and did not interrogate anybody. Mr. Brennan was confirmed by a vote of 63-34 … If Mr. Brennan was confirmed despite his history at the C.I.A. at a time when this program was being implemented, Ms. Haspel should be confirmed as well.” (Sen. Cornyn, Floor Remarks, 5/10/2018)

  • SEN. CORNYN: “And it's worth noting that Mr. Brennan himself agrees. He's called Ms. Haspel an ‘exceptionally well respected professional within the C.I.A.’, one who ‘has held a number of senior-level positions over the years and has acquitted herself very competently.’ He said she’ll be able to provide ‘unvarnished, apolitical, objective intelligence’ to President Trump and to others.” (Sen. Cornyn, Floor Remarks, 5/10/2018)


Flashback: John Brennan Was Deputy Executive Director Of The CIA During The Time Enhanced Interrogation Techniques Were Used

SEN. SAXBY CHAMBLISS (R-GA), Then-Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman: “As deputy executive director, you received the daily updates from the time of Abu Zubaydah’s capture throughout his interrogation, including the analysis of the lawfulness of the techniques, putting you in a position to express any concerns you had about the program before any of the most controversial techniques, including waterboarding, were ever used….”

JOHN BRENNAN: “I served as deputy executive director at the time. I had responsibility for overseeing the management of the Agency and all of its various functions. And I was aware of the program; I was cc’d on some of those documents …” (U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Hearing, 2/07/2013)

Looking Back In 2014, Brennan Said, ‘It Was Our Job To Carry It Out’

THEN-CIA DIRECTOR JOHN BRENNAN: “[T]he President authorized the effort six days after 9/11, and it was our job to carry it out. Over time, enhanced interrogation techniques (EITs), which the Department of Justice determined at the time to be lawful and which were duly authorized by the Bush Administration, were introduced as a method of interrogation.” (CIA Director John O. Brennan, Remarks, 12/11/2014)

  • BRENNAN: “It is vitally important to recognize, however, that the overwhelming majority of officers involved in the program carried out their responsibilities faithfully and in accordance with the legal and policy guidance they were provided. They did what they were asked to do in the service of our Nation.” (CIA Director John O. Brennan, Remarks, 12/11/2014)


Fifty Democrat Senators Voted To Confirm Brennan

In 2013, 50 Senate Democrats voted to confirm John Brennan to be CIA Director. (PN 48, Roll Call Vote #32: Confirmed 63-34 : D 49-2; R 13-31; I 1-1, 3/07/2013)

  • Among those voting to confirm Brennan were Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Angus King (I-ME), Jack Reed (D-RI), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Patty Murray (D-WA), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Bob Casey (D-PA), Chris Coons (D-DE), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Bill Nelson (D-FL), and Jon Tester (D-MT). (PN 48, Roll Call Vote #32: Confirmed 63-34 : D 49-2; R 13-31; I 1-1, 3/07/2013)
  • SEN. MARK WARNER (D-VA): “It’s my honor to introduce John Brennan as the president’s nominee to be the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency…. He served for 25 years at the agency in the field and at headquarters, including as deputy executive director in Saudi Arabia, and as briefer to two presidents since 9/11. He’s been on the front lines in the fight against al Qaeda, including standing up the National Counterterrorism Center. He has enormous appreciation for the men and women of the CIA and the work they do, often in the shadows, to keep our nation safe.” (U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence Hearing, 2/07/2013)



Related Issues: National Security, War on Terror, Nominations