WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, questioned Gina Haspel during her confirmation hearing to serve as CIA Director.
Following are Excerpts from Blunt’s Questioning:
Blunt: “We haven't really mentioned the broad support that you have had publicly from Democrats, Republicans, people who have run this agency in the past, people who have associated with, frankly people that … members on this committee have shown great respect and regard for, have shown that same respect and regard for you. I heard General Hayden, former CIA Director, say the other day that he would be incredibly comfortable when the president was making decisions, maybe even more than comfortable, he said he would feel more secure…if you were the person in the room. That’s really what we’re talking about right now. We’re not talking about what happened 17 years ago. We should be talking about what might happen 17 days or 17 weeks from now. I thought General Hayden actually captured my exact feeling on this topic - the importance of you being in the room, your mastery of the facts, your broad understanding of what has happened during your career all over the world, the cause, the result, and the relationships [between] all of those things. This is a term that's often overused and I try not to use it very often, is the truth to power. You're in the room. You understand the facts. Talk about your sense of obligation to present those facts and to speak truth to power at a moment when it matters.”
Haspel: “Senator, thank you. Truth to power is one of CIA’s most important missions. Like with any new administration, CIA has to demonstrate to the new team what we can bring to the table. I'm incredibly proud, even though I come from the operational side, I'm incredibly proud of the analysts at CIA. That's really our face with policymakers, including the Congress. They do an incredible job on the president's daily brief each day. They do an incredible job on the expert briefings they provide to inform the important decisions our policymakers must consider. As I mentioned, there isn't a week that doesn’t go by that I am not the subject of a request to have an analyst by name come over and talk about some of the big issues. Our North Korea team has a superb reputation. Our China team is running all over this town they're so busy providing briefings. We are all about bringing the most sophisticated, objective, all-source analysis we can to make sure that the president and his team have the best intelligence that we can deliver.”