• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

CounterPunch needs you. piggybank-icon You need us. The cost of keeping the site alive and running is growing fast, as more and more readers visit. We want you to stick around, but it eats up bandwidth and costs us a bundle. Help us reach our modest goal (we are half way there!) so we can keep CounterPunch going. Donate today!
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

The Rehabilitation of Gina Haspel by the New York Times

Photograph Source – C-SPAN

Last week, the New York Times did its best to rehabilitate CIA director Gina Haspel, who was one of the agency’s leading proponents and players in the unconscionable policy of torture and abuse in CIA’s secret prisons.  Today, the New York Times doubled down on its bet, and ran a letter to the editor from a former operations officer, Douglas Wise, who predictably extolled the virtues of “Bloody Gina.”  Whereas the Times’ reporters credited Haspel with the “skills of a spy,” the CIA operative explained that it was “not spycraft (sic); it’s professionalism.”  The one thing that the Times and the letter writer have in common is the purveying of bullshit.

The obvious issue concerns their belief that Haspel has genuinely ingratiated herself with the commander-in-chief.  Their view is “yes;” my answer is “you must be kidding.”  Let’s review the bidding.  The CIA believes that Russian hacking took place during the 2015-2016 presidential campaign.  The president believes Russian President Vladimir Putin’s denials.  The CIA believes that North Korea continues to expand its nuclear weapons program.  The president’s love affair with Kim Jong Un has no room for such nuclear activity.

It gets worse.  The CIA believes that Saudi Arabia’s Mohammed bin Salman orchestrated the killing of Saudi dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi.  The president has accepted the Saudi denials of the crown prince’s involvement.  The CIA has credited Iran with honoring all aspects of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.  The president and his secretary of state falsely accuse Iran of violations and have the United States from an important international nuclear agreement.  On and on it goes.

The Times and the CIA operative argue that Haspel has created an “effective relationship with the president.”  Indeed, the operative calls it “masterful.”  In actual fact, the president began a war on the intelligence community, particularly the CIA, before he was even inaugurated.  The CIA, after all, was compared to the Gestapo of the Third Reich!

My sources in the intelligence community tell me that the president rarely sits still for CIA intelligence briefings and that he relies on national security adviser John Bolton for such briefings.  Bolton, by the way, has a long history of hostility toward the CIA along with a record for politicizing agency assessments in his various posts at the Department of State, the United Nations, and now the National Security Council.

The operative also states Haspel’s “effective relationship” has contributed to “national security decisions.”  Au contraire.  I cannot cite one example of the president relying on CIA estimates or assessments in his decision making.  Surely, his call for withdrawal from Syria had nothing to do with the views of the intelligence community.  And what about the abrogation of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty.  Can our operative cite any intelligence briefs that are critical of a seminal disarmament treaty that abolished an entire class of nuclear weapons?

The operative also states that Haspel’s credibility with the president is “unmatched by recent directors.”  More nonsense.  George H.W. Bush and CIA director Robert Gates were tight.  Barack Obama and CIA director John Brennan were tighter; the president even ignored Brennan’s violation of the separation of powers when he authorized hacking the computers of the Senate intelligence committee’s staff that was examining CIA’s sadistic policies of torture and abuse.

The Times, meanwhile, inadvertently gave away the real game when it argued that Haspel plays an important role with the president because Donald Trump sees Haspel as an “extension of Mr. (Mike) Pompeo,” her predecessor whose loyalty to the president should have disqualified him in the confirmation process.  CIA directors are needed to tell truth to power, and not to provide loyalty.  And the press is needed to provide oversight and accountability of our secret intelligence organizations and not to provide space for apologists.

More articles by:

Melvin A. Goodman is a senior fellow at the Center for International Policy and a professor of government at Johns Hopkins University.  A former CIA analyst, Goodman is the author of Failure of Intelligence: The Decline and Fall of the CIA and National Insecurity: The Cost of American Militarism. and A Whistleblower at the CIA. His forthcoming book is American Carnage: Donald Trump’s War on Intelligence” (City Lights Publishers, 2019).  Goodman is the national security columnist for counterpunch.org.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

May 21, 2019
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Locked in a Cold War Time Warp
Roger Harris
Venezuela: Amnesty International in Service of Empire
Patrick Cockburn
Trump is Making the Same Mistakes in the Middle East the US Always Makes
Robert Hunziker
Custer’s Last Stand Meets Global Warming
Lance Olsen
Renewable Energy: the Switch From Drill, Baby, Drill to Mine, Baby, Mine
Dean Baker
Ady Barkan, the Fed and the Liberal Funder Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
Maduro Gives Trump a Lesson in Ethics and Morality
Jan Oberg
Trump’s Iran Trap
David D’Amato
What is Anarchism?
Nicky Reid
Trump’s War In Venezuela Could Be Che’s Revenge
Elliot Sperber
Springtime in New York
May 20, 2019
Richard Greeman
The Yellow Vests of France: Six Months of Struggle
Manuel García, Jr.
Abortion: White Panic Over Demographic Dilution?
Robert Fisk
From the Middle East to Northern Ireland, Western States are All Too Happy to Avoid Culpability for War Crimes
Tom Clifford
From the Gulf of Tonkin to the Persian Gulf
Chandra Muzaffar
Targeting Iran
Valerie Reynoso
The Violent History of the Venezuelan Opposition
Howard Lisnoff
They’re Just About Ready to Destroy Roe v. Wade
Eileen Appelbaum
Private Equity is a Driving Force Behind Devious Surprise Billings
Binoy Kampmark
Bob Hawke: Misunderstood in Memoriam
J.P. Linstroth
End of an era for ETA?: May Basque Peace Continue
Weekend Edition
May 17, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Trump and the Middle East: a Long Record of Personal Failure
Joan Roelofs
“Get Your Endangered Species Off My Bombing Range!”
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Slouching Towards Tehran
Paul Street
It’s Even More Terrible Than You Thought
Rob Urie
Grabby Joe and the Problem of Environmental Decline
Ajamu Baraka
2020 Elections: It’s Militarism and the Military Budget Stupid!
Andrew Levine
Springtime for Biden and Democrats
Richard Moser
The Interlocking Crises: War and Climate Chaos
Ron Jacobs
Uncle Sam Needs Our Help Again?
Eric Draitser
Elizabeth Warren Was Smart to Tell FOX to Go to Hell
Peter Bolton
The Washington Post’s “Cartel of the Suns” Theory is the Latest Desperate Excuse for Why the Coup Attempt in Venezuela has Failed
Doug Johnson Hatlem
Analysis of Undecideds Suggests Biden’s Support May be Exaggerated
Peter Lackowski
Eyewitness in Venezuela: a 14-year Perspective
Karl Grossman
Can Jerry Nadler Take Down Trump?
Howie Hawkins
Does the Climate Movement Really Mean What It Says?
Gary Leupp
Bolton and the Road to the War He Wants
Jill Richardson
Climate Change was No Accident
Josh Hoxie
Debunking Myths About Wealth and Race
David Barsamian
Iran Notes
David Mattson
Social Carrying Capacity Politspeak Bamboozle
Christopher Brauchli
The Pompeo Smirk
Louis Proyect
Trotsky, Bukharin and the Eco-Modernists
Martha Burk
Will Burning at the Stake Come Next?
John W. Whitehead
The Deadly Perils of Traffic Stops in America
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail