President Donald Trump swore in Gina Haspel as the seventh director of the Central Intelligence Agency on Monday, making her the first woman to hold the position. The ceremony came a few hours after the president accused former CIA director John Brennan of engaging in a "political hit job" against him. On Monday, Trump tweeted, “John Brennan is panicking," while quoting radio host Dan Bongino. "He has disgraced himself, he has disgraced the Country, he has disgraced the entire Intelligence Community. He is the one man who is largely responsible for the destruction of America’s faith in the Intelligence Community and in some people at the FBI."
Brennan, who served during the Obama administration, is now a contributor to MSNBC and a frequent critic of the current president. Trump said that Brennan is among "the biggest liars and leakers" in Washington. Trump has demanded an investigation into whether the FBI "infiltrated or surveilled the Trump campaign for political purposes" in 2016. While the president did not provided evidence of the accusation, the Justice Department immediately referred the question to its inspector general.
Haspel is a veteran of 33 years of service in the CIA. Her nomination was highly contested because of questions over her management of a secret "black site" in Thailand where suspected terrorists were subjected to waterboarding. In 2005, Haspel wrote an order at her supervisor's request to destroy 92 videotapes of the torture techniques. She was approved for the CIA director’s job on Thursday.
Brennan tweeted on Sunday that Trump is on a “disastrous path” and that congressional Republican will share blame for the “harm done to our democracy” if they did not intervene. His comments followed Trump’s tweet that day in which he demanded an investigation into whether the fBI has infiltrated or surveilled his presidential campaign. Trump tweeted on Sunday, “I hereby demand...that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI and DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the trump campaign for political purposes and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama administration!”
Subsequently on Sunday, DOJ announced that DOJ inspector general will investigate the FBI. "The Department has asked the Inspector General to expand the ongoing review of the FISA application process to include determining whether there was any impropriety or political motivation in how the FBI conducted its counterintelligence investigation of persons suspected of involvement with the Russian agents who interfered in the 2016 presidential election,” Justice Department spokeswoman Sarah Isgur Flores said in a statement. Flores said, "As always, the Inspector General will consult with the appropriate U.S. Attorney if there is any evidence of potential criminal conduct."
Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz has found "reasonable grounds" to believe that federal laws were broken by the FBI and DOJ it their probes of Hillary Clinton. Horowitz has referred findings of possible criminal misconduct to John Huber - Utah's top federal prosecutor who was paired with Horowitz by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.