Tuesday May 8, 2018
The White House is insisting that Gina Haspel move forward in nomination as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, despite her own concerns that the Senate hearings—expected to begin Wednesday—could turn brutal over her history in the CIA’s torture program. The Trump administration would be smart to heed her concerns.
Predictably, progressives like Senators Elizabeth Warren, Ron Wyden, and Bernie Sanders have come out strongly against her. Libertarian Republican Senator Rand Paul said not only that he’ll vote against Haspel, but that he’ll filibuster her nomination. Paul does that kind of thing to nominees who have a background in the CIA’s torture program—he also filibustered, albeit unsuccessfully, John Brennan’s nomination as CIA director when President Obama made that appointment in 2013.
But in addition to progressive and libertarian concerns, there is also a conservative case to be made against Haspel—and certainly a Christian case against her.
Almost none of my progressive friends know that I’m a former adjunct professor of intelligence studies at Liberty University, the right-wing evangelical university founded by the late Jerry Falwell. Liberty prides itself on its record of turning out conservatives and evangelicals and preparing them for a lifetime of activism. While there, I was assigned to the Helms School of Government, named after the late Republican senator Jesse Helms, one of the most deeply conservative members that body has ever seen. I genuinely liked and respected every professor and administrator I encountered at the Helms School, and I consider many of them to be my friends.