Rand Paul asks Haspel if the CIA spied on Trump in 2016

In a letter to CIA director-nominee Gina Haspel, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., asked for information on the agency's activities during the 2016 presidential campaign, specifically whether Trump was being monitored during overseas travel.

I sent a letter to Gina Haspel asking her did the CIA eavesdrop on the Trump campaign when they were in England?”. Trump has in the past accused President Barack Obama of wiretapping Trump Tower — a claim that has been refuted by intelligence officials but one he's asked Congress to investigate.

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The Guardian -
Gina Haspel says CIA should not have adopted brutal interrogation program

Amid an intense public debate on torture, Donald Trump’s pick to head the CIA has said the interrogation program the agency ran at black sites after the 9/11 attacks should not have been undertaken.

“With the benefit of hindsight and my experience as a senior agency leader, the enhanced interrogation program is not one the CIA should have undertaken.” While Haspel is expected to clear the committee in a closed-door vote on Wednesday, her confirmation in the full Senate depends on winning support from key Democrats from conservative or centrist states.

New York Times -
Gina Haspel Portrays C.I.A. Torture as a Bad Idea in ‘Hindsight’

Gina Haspel, President Trump’s nominee to lead the C.I.A., declared that the agency should not have undertaken its interrogation program in which Qaeda detainees were tortured after the Sept. 11 attacks — a condemnation she refused to make at her confirmation hearing last week.

In a letter to the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, Ms. Haspel said one of the “hard lessons since 9/11” was the costs of the agency’s use of torture, which she called “enhanced interrogation.”

NBC News -
Some senators disturbed by torture details in Democrats' Haspel memo

The document, which has been made available to senators and cleared aides, describes Gina Haspel's role in the CIA's post-9/11 torture program, citing cable traffic and internal CIA messages that were not discussed in her public confirmation hearing.

The Democratic staff of the Senate intelligence committee has prepared a classified background document on President Trump's CIA nominee that includes details some senators and aides have found disturbing, four people familiar with the document told NBC News.

Wall Street Jurnal -
Second Democratic Senator Backs CIA Nominee Haspel

Sen. Joe Donnelly (D., Ind.) said he had a “tough, frank and extensive” conversation with Ms. Haspel about her role in certain CIA detention and interrogation programs and believes she has learned from the past.

In a hearing last week in front of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Ms. Haspel said she wouldn’t restart any such interrogation programs as CIA director.

The Guardian -
Gina Haspel: Democrat Donnelly backs CIA pick beset by torture questions

Joe Donnelly of Indiana on Saturday became the second Democratic senator to back Donald Trump’s pick to run the CIA, Gina Haspel, whose nomination is in question over her role in a rendition and torture programme run by the agency after 9/11.

In a statement issued on Saturday, Donnelly said he made his decision after a “tough, frank and extensive discussion” with Haspel, the acting CIA director, on topics including “issues of detention and interrogation”. “I believe she has learned from the past,” he said, also citing the “strong support of both her colleagues at the agency and former CIA directors [Michael] Hayden, [Leon] Panetta and [John] Brennan, who served under Presidents Bush and Obama”.

McCain family jabs aide who 'mocked' him

The daughter of US Senator John McCain has hit back at a White House aide who reportedly joked his vote "doesn't matter" because "he's dying anyway".

Mr McCain, 81, has been diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, and has been resting at his family retreat in Sedona, Arizona in recent weeks. The comment was first reported in the Hill newspaper, which added that Ms Sadler had called the senator's daughter, Meghan McCain, to apologise.

The Guardian -
Dick Cheney urges CIA to revive harsh interrogation and backs Gina Haspel

Dick Cheney said the US should restart the harsh detention and interrogation practices used on terror suspects after 9/11, and called on the Senate to confirm CIA nominee Gina Haspel.

Haspel, currently the acting director of the CIA, told members of the Senate intelligence committee during her confirmation hearing on Wednesday that, if confirmed, she would not restart the interrogation program. Brutal interrogation practices are currently banned under US law, but debate on the issue has re-surfaced during Haspel’s confirmation process because she was once involved in the CIA’s interrogation program.

NBC News -
Lawmaker anger builds after White House aide mocks 'dying' McCain

Former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush are slated to be eulogists at McCain's funeral service, which is to be held at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., a source close to McCain said.

During a White House meeting Thursday, Sadler reacted to McCain's announcement that he opposes Gina Haspel’s nomination to serve as CIA director because of her involvement in the agency’s enhanced interrogation program.

ABC News -
The Note: Political Trump and diplomatic Trump

There will be plenty of opportunities for both political Trump and diplomatic Trump in the six months that loom before the midterms.

President Donald Trump is, at the moment, willing to see the best in Kim Jong Un, and the worst in John Kerry, Chuck Schumer, and Barack Obama. (And that’s not even getting to a how-low-can-you-go White House feud with John McCain.)

DW -
White House aide dismisses McCain’s views because 'he's dying'

After John McCain urged senators to reject Gina Haspel, a White House aide has dismissed his opinion because he has cancer.

A White House official on Thursday said that US Senator John McCain's opposition to CIA director nominee Gina Haspel "doesn't matter" because "he's dying anyway." Kelly Sadler, a special assistant in the White House communications office, made the comments at a closed-door meeting with about two dozen staffers, The Hill newspaper said.

“Four hostile newspapers are more to be feared than a thousand bayonets...” ― Napoléon Bonaparte