Why US foreign policy is about to get even more hawkish

Why US foreign policy is about to get even more hawkish

Gina Haspel, the veteran CIA undercover officer President Donald Trump picked yesterday to head the agency, is supported by many in the USA intelligence community but has faced criticism for overseeing a secret CIA prison in Thailand where detainees were tortured.

In a quavering voice, Tillerson left out the traditional thanks to the president he served and omitted any endorsements of his policies.

She oversaw the CIA's black site prison in Thailand in 2002, where, according to numerous reports, key Al-Qaeda suspects Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri were brutally interrogated, slammed against walls, and repeatedly waterboarded. Haspel also helped carry out an order to destroy waterboarding videos, which prompted a lengthy Justice Department investigation that ended without charges.

Trump announced on Twitter Tuesday morning that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and Pompeo will be replaced by Haspel.

Trump also announced the appointment of Gina Haspel, the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, to head the agency - the first woman selected for the top post. "We will see what happens next".

In June 2017, Trump stunned the world by declaring his intention to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.

"The torture of detainees in USA custody during the last decade was one of the darkest chapters in American history", said Republican Senator John McCain, who was himself tortured as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

"Ms Haspel needs to explain the nature and extent of her involvement in the CIA's interrogation program during the confirmation process".

U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin, D-Wis., said on Twitter: "The chaotic revolving door in the Trump Administration continues to undermine our national security overseas and here at home".

Yesterday, some USA intelligence officials said reports of her alleged involvement in interrogations involving torture were false. However, they did not immediately provide details.

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"Mike and Gina have worked together for more than a year, and have developed a great mutual respect", Trump said. "If Ms. Haspel seeks to serve at the highest levels of USA intelligence, the government can no longer cover up disturbing facts from her past".

Former U.S. officials suggested that, as the administration nears a planned summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un about Pyongyang's nuclear programme, it could rethink its stance on the Iran deal. "So we were not really thinking the same". Trump may not take his advice but there's every reason to believe he'll take it seriously.

But perhaps the biggest unknown in the ascension of Pompeo is how it will affect any negotiations with North Korea.

"When you look at the Iran deal, I thought it was bad, he thought it was okay". On the contrary, as Iran's vulnerabilities grow, it will expend more energy on defending a sphere of influence across the region via its militant proxies, political agents of influence and economic linkages.

"There is no question that a director leaving after a year is very turbulent for the agency", said former CIA Director Michael Hayden.

"I made that decision by myself", Trump said yesterday.

One would expect Feinstein to be outraged by the prospect of Haspel's elevation to Director, but she is not. Then-CIA Director John Brennan in 2013 named her deputy director of National Clandestine Service, but she was denied a permanent promotion in the face of congressional opposition.

In a brief statement, the former undercover officer said she was "humbled" by Trump's confidence in her to lead the agency.

"She's somebody who tries to bring disparate elements together", the kind of collaboration that is important in intelligence work, said Hoffman.

"She's got the highest level of intellectual integrity and honesty".

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