by James Cavallaro
award dinner in Washington DC in October 2017.
Photograph: Handout/AFP/Getty Images
the question is not if Haspel rises
to the caliber of the agency
but rather if she descends
to the dark levels
that mark its history...
Much has been written about whether someone who
oversaw a secret CIA detention site where
detainees were tortured
should be eligible to head the nation's leading intelligence agency.
on further inspection, the focus on whether Haspel's abusive conduct
disqualifies her from CIA leadership cloaks a far more important and
Interrogating, so to speak, that
knowledge and understanding that vision have been painfully absent
from the national debate.
Since 9/11, we have witnessed a national, collective effort to rehabilitate the CIA and champion its role as a "noble protector" of the U.S.
...are not limited to the Americas.
The CIA and British intelligence intervened
in Iran in 1953, inciting a disastrous military coup against
democratically elected Iranian prime minister Mohammad Mosaddegh
after the nationalization of Iran's oil industry.
A series of brutal military leaders and a devastating civil war followed. In 1973, the U.S. supported the Chilean military in toppling the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende.
My guess is that none of this bleak history will be raised when Gina Haspel appears before the Senate.
Since 9/11, we have witnessed a national, collective effort to rehabilitate the CIA and champion its role as a noble protector of the U.S.
Our post-9/11 reverence for all those tasked with defending us against real and perceived terrorist threats has crippled our ability to assess the actions and role of agencies like the CIA critically.
This collective amnesia
regarding the agency's abuses, including its pattern of interference
in democratic processes, is particularly stark today, as our nation
grapples with the consequences of Russian efforts to undermine our
elections and those of other nations.
Unless and until we
examine the difficult questions about the past and future of the
CIA, Haspel may just be perfect for the job.