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How Haspel’s CIA could improve U.S.–Pakistan relations

Gina Haspel is sworn in as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency alongside President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Langley, Virginia, on May 21, 2018.
Gina Haspel is sworn in as the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency alongside President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Langley, Virginia, on May 21, 2018. Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

On Monday, Gina Haspel was sworn in as the director of the CIA. When asked about Pakistan during her confirmation hearing, she discussed the CIA’s concerns about the link between extremist groups and Pakistan’s nuclear scientists, and stated that the CIA has been monitoring these contacts closely.

Why it matters: In March, the U.S. Department of Commerce sanctioned seven Pakistani companies for engaging in nuclear trade in ways that undermine U.S. peace interests. Pakistan responded by defending its nonproliferation record and promising to work with the U.S. to investigate the accused companies. With her answer, Haspel may have offered Pakistan an opening to get its currently tumultuous relationship with the U.S. back on track.