May 9, 2018

Haspel to vow CIA won't restart torture program if confirmed

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

CIA nominee Gina Haspel plans to put concerns over her re-starting the agency's torture program to rest as her confirmation hearing with the Senate Intelligence Committee takes place Wednesday.

"I understand that what many people around the country want to know about are my views on CIA's former detention and interrogation program... I want to be clear... I can offer you my personal commitment, clearly and without reservation, that under my leadership CIA will not restart such a detention and interrogation program."
— Haspel, per excerpts from her opening statement from the CIA

Key excerpts from Haspel's opening statement:

  • On breaking CIA's glass ceiling: "I did my part—quietly and through hard work—to break down those barriers. And I was proud to be the first woman to serve as the number-two in the Clandestine Service. It is not my way to trumpet the fact that I am a woman up for the top job, but I would be remiss in not remarking on it—not least because of the outpouring of support from young women at CIA who consider it a good sign for their own prospects.”
  • On beginning her career with the agency: "From my first days in training, I had a knack for the nuts and bolts of my profession. ... I recall my first foreign agent meeting was on a dark, moonless night with an agent I’d never met before. When I picked him up, he passed me the intelligence, and I passed him extra money for the men he led. It was the beginning of an adventure I had only dreamed of.”
  • On working with Congress: "I am a strong believer in the importance of oversight. Simply put, experience has taught us that CIA cannot be effective without the people’s trust. ... If we can’t share aspects of our secret work with the public, we should do so with their elected representatives. For CIA, oversight is a vital link to the open society we defend.”

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Obama on George Floyd's death: "This shouldn't be 'normal'"

Photo: Getty Images/Getty Images for EIF & XQ

Former President Obama said in a statement Friday that the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who was killed by a white Minneapolis police officer, "shouldn't be 'normal' in 2020 America."

What he's saying: "[W]e have to remember that for millions of Americans being treated differently on account of race is tragically, painfully, maddeningly 'normal' — whether it’s while dealing with the health care system, or interacting with the criminal justice system, or jogging down the street, or watching birds in a park."

Trump's big, empty beef with Twitter

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump finally acted on his now year-old threat to take action against social media platforms for alleged bias against conservatives. But so far, according to experts in both government and the industry, the threat looks mostly empty.

Driving the news: Trump escalated his war on Twitter Friday morning, tweeting repeatedly that the company needs to be regulated after it overnight added a warning label to a tweet of his calling for the military to start shooting looters, which violated Twitter’s rules against glorifying violence.