Avril Haines: Biden’s intelligence chief promises to “speak the truth to power” during the Trump era change

“You know I never avoided telling the truth to the power. And that will be my responsibility as director of national intelligence. I worked for you for a long time and I accept that nomination, knowing you never want me to do otherwise,” he said Tuesday Haines. “And that he appreciates the perspective of the intelligence community. And that he does so even when what I have to say can be awkward or difficult, and I can assure you that there will be times like this.”

Some progressives have questioned Haines’ achievements on sensitive issues, criticizing his role in the Obama administration’s drone program, in which human rights groups killed hundreds of civilians and accused him of complicity in the CIA’s use of torture or “enhanced interrogation techniques” 9 . / 11.

But more of the former intelligence and national security officials who had previously worked with Haines told CNN that he had been a clear speaker throughout his career, also serving as a senior CIA official and deputy national security adviser under President Barack Obama.

“He’s a man who’s willing to speak up and speak up when he sees something to be said, so he’s not someone who hesitates to be controversial as needed,” said Haines former chief CIA director John Brennan.

Former Deputy Director of Intelligence Susan Gordon also paid high praise to Haines, who told CNN that “it’s a wonderful choice, the president-elect trusts him, is a whip and – even better – a great representative of the craft and people. The intelligence committee.”

“I expect great things from him,” Gordon added.

Biden officially unveiled Haines as a top intelligence candidate at a Tuesday event in Wilmington, Delaware, where he was hailed as “brilliant” and “humble,” while highlighting his extensive life experience as a tool for incoming administration.

“I know because I’ve been working with him for over a decade,” Biden said, adding that in a single conversation, Haines “can talk about literature and theoretical physics, record cars, drive planes, and run a bookstore cafe – because they’re all done.”

“Above all, if you get news of a threat to our shores – such as another epidemic or foreign intervention in our elections – it won’t stop raising alerts until the right people take action,” he added.

Another way

While many of Haines ’predecessors were career intelligence officials before taking on the role of DNI, the woman chose a different path.

She earned a degree in physics from the University of Chicago, but took a little leave to study flight, learning from an instructor who would later become her husband.

The couple opened a bookstore in Baltimore, where erotic literature is sometimes read, before Haines entered Georgetown University’s law school.

His unique background also gives him a unique perspective, which Brennan says will serve DNI well.

Key lines for the presentation of Biden’s most important national security and foreign policy team

“Avril brings to DNI’s position a unique blend of national security experiences during his time in the White House, the CIA, the National Security Council and the State Department,” he told CNN.

“His eclectic and even bohemian background truly reflects his great intellectual curiosity about a lot of things – be it physics or law, running a bookstore or flying an airplane,” Brennan told CNN.

“Avril just wants to experience every aspect of life and I think this background really gives him a huge perspective, I think the National Intelligence Director has a role to play in this very complex, complicated world.” to it.

Haines has worked with Biden on various national security missions for more than a decade, but now he wants to take over an intelligence community that he has slandered and set aside several times during his four years in Trump’s office.

“To our intelligence professionals: The work you often do under the most stringent conditions imaginable is just essential,” he said Tuesday.

After Haines was first announced Monday as Biden’s election in the DNI work, the chief Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee immediately relied on his Republican colleagues to confirm him quickly.

“Avril is smart and capable, with a background that will serve him well as director of national intelligence,” Virginia Senator Mark Warner said. “While I expect to have to deal with the hardships of senators on both sides of the corridor, the sooner we manage to get a reinforced DNI to begin repairing the damage done to our intelligence agencies over the past four years, the better.”

Persistent concerns

But while his move to nominate Biden Haines has garnered praise from some Democrats and former officials who have worked with him in the National Security Council and the CIA, the election has also sparked some progressive repercussions accusing him of taking questionable positions on various issues. issues, including torture.

While serving as CIA Deputy Director from 2013 to 2014, Haines decided not to punish agency staff accused of inadequately accessing Senate Intelligence Committee computers when investigating CIA using enhanced interrogation techniques. – this debate has provoked criticism from Democrats.

He also voiced his support for Trump’s current CIA director, Gina Haspel, when she was appointed to the job in 2018, and was criticized for her involvement in the implementation of George W. Bush-era CIA interrogation programs, including “those executed in black and black.” allegedly ran in prison.

At the time, Haines ’support for Haspel was opposed by many democracies on the board, and that remains a sticking point for some within the party.

“Haines has unfortunately uncovered torture and torturers on several occasions. He called for a maximalist withdrawal of the torture report, refused to discipline CIA staff who broke into the Senate, and gave loud support to Gina Haspel – which even as Trump White House Democrats almost unanimously opposed. the then-candidate for the CIA leadership – to be questioned during the ratification process, ”David Segal, co-founder and CEO of Demand Progress Group, told CNN.