Liberals are less-than-thrilled about the prospect of the nation’s first woman CIA Director.
Gina Haspel, President Trump’s choice to lead the CIA upon Mike Pompeo’s elevation to Secretary of State, faced scrutiny for a former role overseeing the interrogation of terror suspects at a black site in Thailand, but others praised her record, calling her a “hero.”
On Fox News’ “The Five,” host Jesse Watters said Haspel, who current serves as CIA Deputy Director, was “just following orders,” and that she will be “terrific.”
“It’s gonna be a real historic moment for a woman to lead the agency,” he asserted.
Fellow panelist Greg Gutfeld also offered praise, defending Haspel against accusations that she’s unfit to serve as CIA Director because the non-profit European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights called on Germany to issue an arrest warrant for her.
“I think she should be proud of what she did. She has to make decisions that a lot of her critics don’t have to make,” Gutfeld argued. “She answered the call, and that call forces you to make decisions that could put you in jail.”
“So the thing is, if you’re faced with a potential terror attack that could kill thousands and they say ‘but if you do this, you go to jail,’ if you follow that order, you’re wrong. If you follow the order that puts you in jail, that makes you a hero.”
Dana Perino, who served as Press Secretary for President George W. Bush, added that individuals like Haspel “save lives.”
“And they save lives,” Gutfeld agreed. “So I think she’s a hero.”
Haspel has her detractors.
“Ms. Haspel’s background makes her unsuitable to serve as CIA director,” Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) told the Daily Beast. “Her nomination must include total transparency about this background.”
Wyden’s criticism focused on the treatment of suspected terrorist Abu Zubaydah, who was waterboarded 83 times, stuffed in wooden box, and slammed against a wall, according to the Daily Beast.
Former CIA employee and whistleblower Edward Snowden also disapproved of the pick.
The new CIA director was a key part of the torture program and its illegal cover-up. Her name was on the Top Secret order demanding the destruction of tapes to prevent them being seen by Congress. Incredible. https://t.co/HjVHCPCbpo https://t.co/VamIGa1A8w
— Edward Snowden (@Snowden) March 13, 2018
Republican Senator John McCain surprisingly added himself to the list of Haspel’s critics.
The torture of detainees in U.S. custody during the last decade was one of the darkest chapters in American history. The Senate must do its job in scrutinizing the record & involvement of Gina Haspel in this disgraceful program. https://t.co/p2eZfMDF5N
— John McCain (@SenJohnMcCain) March 13, 2018
“The torture of detainees in US custody during the last decade was one of the darkest chapters in American history,” McCain tweeted. “The Senate must do its job in scrutinizing the record & involvement of Gina Haspel in this disgraceful program.”
Author Ralph Peters, a retired US Army Lieutenant Colonel who worked in military intelligence, slammed the left’s “shabby attack” on Haspel in a New York Post op-ed.
Peters wrote that if Haspel was involved in torture, “good for her. It’s cowardice for any politician, almost two decades after the fact, to criticize actions taken in good faith to protect our country.”
He argued that intelligence agencies faced enormous pressure to prevent another major terror attack following 9/11, and that their techniques, though controversial, “kept us safe.”
“Let’s not play the self-righteousness card, if we have never had to make tough decisions ourselves to protect this country.”