Trump Names First Woman, ‘Seasoned Spymaster,’ to Head Central Intelligence Agency

Gina Haspel will be the first woman to head the nation’s top intelligence shop if she is confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The nomination came after President Donald Trump replaced Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with Mike Pompeo, the current CIA director.The historic promotion for Haspel, 61, comes one year after she was nominated by Trump to serve as the deputy director of the CIA, a post with responsibilities that include assisting the CIA director with “managing intelligence collection, analysis, covert action, counterintelligence, and liaison relationships with foreign services,” her CIA bio states: Ms. Haspel is a career intelligence officer, having joined the CIA in 1985. She has extensive overseas experience and served as Chief of Station in several of her assignments. In Washington, she has held numerous senior leadership positions, including as Deputy Director of the National Clandestine Service, Deputy Director of the National Clandestine Service for Foreign Intelligence and Covert Action, and Chief of Staff for the Director of the National Clandestine Service. Haspel’s bio also states that she has been the recipient of numerous coveted awards, including the George H. W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism; the Donovan Award; the Intelligence Medal of Merit; and the Presidential Rank Award — “the most prestigious award in the federal civil service.” “After thirty years as an officer of the Central Intelligence Agency, it has been my honor to serve as its Deputy Director alongside Mike Pompeo for the past year,” Haspel said in a statement distributed on Tuesday and included in a Time magazine report. “I am grateful to President Trump for the opportunity, and humbled by his confidence in me, to be nominated to be the next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.”The New York Post reported that Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC), Continue Reading

Adm. Stansfield Turner, who led major CIA overhaul as director of central intelligence, dies 94

Retired Navy Adm. Stansfield Turner, the iconoclastic director of the Central Intelligence Agency in the late 1970s who significantly reorganized its clandestine ranks and helped usher in a new technological age at the agency, died Jan. 18 at his home in Seattle. He was 94. His secretary, Pat Moynihan, confirmed the death but did not disclose the cause. An Oxford-educated Rhodes scholar, Adm. Turner was long considered to be one of the Navy’s sharpest analytical minds and brashly confident leaders. He was a four-star admiral and commander of NATO forces in Southern Europe when he was tapped in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter, a Naval Academy classmate, to lead the U.S. intelligence community. As director of central intelligence during the entire Carter administration, Adm. Turner had an office in the Old Executive Office Building — next to the White House — and he met the president frequently for one-on-one briefings. He became the most powerful director of central intelligence in history when Carter signed an executive order in 1978 that gave Adm. Turner authority over the budget of most of the U.S. spy agencies. Former CIA directors Stansfield Turner, left, William Webster, center, and James Woolsey speak during a forum at the Council on Foreign Relations in 2004. (Gregory Bull/AP) With his new mandate, Adm. Turner emphasized the advantages of using satellite imagery, electronic intercepts and sophisticated eavesdropping devices — technology still widely used by the CIA today. “He felt that staying on the cutting edge of technology was important because of the vast amount of intelligence these devices could gather,” William Webster, who served as director of central intelligence from 1987 to 1991, said in an interview. While leading the CIA, Adm. Turner dissolved several long-term clandestine operations that he deemed too risky and declined to approve many new ones. Instead, he promoted the use of technology for intelligence Continue Reading

The Koch Brothers’ Favorite Congressman Will Be in Charge of the CIA

In the “Republican Wave” election of 2010, when brothers Charles and David Koch emerged as defining figures in American politics, the greatest beneficiary of Koch Industries largess was the newly elected Congressman Mike Pompeo. Since his election, Pompeo has been referred to as the “Koch Brothers’ Congressman” and “the congressman from Koch.” Pompeo, who on Friday accepted President-elect Donald Trump’s invitation to take over as director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is a foreign-policy hawk who has fiercely opposed the Iran nuclear deal, stoked fears of Muslims in the United States and abroad, opposed closing the Guantánamo Bay detention camp, and defended the National Security Agency’s unconstitutional surveillance programs as “good and important work.” He has even gone so far as to say that NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden “should be brought back from Russia and given due process, and I think the proper outcome would be that he would be given a death sentence.” Pompeo’s open disregard for privacy rights in particular and civil liberties in general, as well as his penchant for extreme language and more extreme policies, mark him as a profoundly troublesome pick to serve as the head of a powerful intelligence agency. But he is also one of the most remarkably conflicted political figures in the conflicted city of Washington, thanks to his ties to the privately held and frequently secretive global business empire that has played a pivotal role in advancing his political career. Pompeo came out of the same Wichita, Kansas, business community where the Koch family’s oil-and-gas conglomerate is headquartered. Indeed, Pompeo built his own company with seed money from Koch Venture Capital. More important, from a political standpoint, is the fact that Pompeo made the leap from business to government with a big boost from the Koch brothers and their employees. Continue Reading

‘The Adults Are Back in the White House’: Gorka Praises Trump’s Admin Picks

McCain: Does Obama Realize the 'Huge Rejection of Liberal Culture' by Voters? Lawmaker Proposes Bill Making 'Illegal Protests' a Felony Hannity: 'Abusively Biased' Media Was So Wrong About Trump President-elect Donald Trump continued to fill out his administration Friday, announcing he will nominate Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general, Kansas Rep. Mike Pompeo as director of the Central Intelligence Agency and Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser.Dr. Sebastian Gorka appeared on "Fox & Friends Weekend" this morning to share insight on what these picks tell us about the direction of our country, particularly when it comes to national security.Gorka said that anyone who voted for Trump because they have concerns about terrorism, border security and radical Islam can "rest easy.""The grownups are in charge," Gorka said. "The adults are back in the White House in the cabinet."He explained that Flynn is an extremely experienced general and a true "soldier's soldier," Sessions is a leading proponent of tough immigration enforcement policies, and Pompeo has an amazing resume, graduating first in his class at West Point, editing the Harvard Law Review and serving on the House Intelligence Committee."This is an amazing start for America," Gorka said.Get more insight from Gorka in the clip above. Report: Fashion Designers Refusing to Dress Melania Trump This Bird Is World Famous Because People Think He Looks Like Donald Trump San Fran Teacher's Lesson Plan: Pres-Elect Trump a 'Racist and Sexist Man' Continue Reading

President Obama picks John Brennan as next director of the Central Intelligence Agency

President Barack Obama will nominate John Brennan as his next director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Brennan, a 25-year CIA veteran, currently serves as Obama's top counterterrorism adviser. The White House says the president will announce Brennan's nomination during an event Monday afternoon. At the same event, an administration official says, the president will also formally announce that he is nominating Chuck Hagel as his next defense secretary. Both men must be confirmed by the Senate. Obama considered Brennan for the top CIA job in 2008. But Brennan withdrew his name amid questions about his connection to enhanced interrogation techniques while serving in the spy agency during the George W. Bush administration. Brennan denied involvement in the controversial interrogation tactics, including waterboarding, and has spoken out against them. Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

UN to Obama: Drop drones? World body to investigate U.S. use of unmanned death planes

UNITED NATIONS  — A U.N. expert on Thursday launched a special investigation into drone warfare and targeted killings, which the United States relies on as a front-line weapon in its global war against al-Qaida. One of the three countries requesting the investigation was Pakistan, which officially opposes the use of U.S. drones on its territory as an infringement on its sovereignty but is believed to have tacitly approved some strikes in the past. Many Pakistanis say innocent civilians have also been killed in drone strikes, which the U.S. has rejected. The other two countries requesting the investigation were not named but were identified as two permanent members of the U.N. Security Council. The civilian killings and injuries that result from drone strikes on suspected terrorist cells will be part of the focus of the investigation by British lawyer Ben Emmerson, the U.N. rapporteur on counterterrorism and human rights. The U.N. said Emmerson will present his findings to the U.N. General Assembly later this year. “The exponential rise in the use of drone technology in a variety of military and non-military contexts represents a real challenge to the framework of established international law,” Emmerson said in announcing the probe Thursday in London. Emmerson said countries that use drones have “an international law obligation to establish effective independent and impartial investigations into any drone attack in which it is plausibly alleged that civilian casualties were sustained.” John Brennan, the anti-terrorism chief who has been nominated as the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency, was the first Obama administration official to publicly acknowledge the highly secretive targeted killing operations, defending the legality of the overseas program and crediting it with protecting U.S. lives and preventing potential terror Continue Reading

Paula Broadwell, biographer and mother of 2 accused of affair with David Petraeus, heaped praise on CIA director’s wife

The other woman always spoke glowingly about CIA Director David Petraeus' betrayed wife, Holly.Holly Petraeus for decades of support and sacrifice in a biography of the retired general. EMAILS FROM FORMER CIA CHIEF DAVID PETRAEUS TO MISTRESS REFERENCED ‘SEX UNDER A DESK’ DAVID PETRAEUS RESIGNS AS CIA DIRECTOR, ADMITS EXTRAMARITAL AFFAIR DAVID PETRAEUS SCANDAL GROWS: MISTRESS SENT MENACING E-MAILS TO MYSTERY WOMAN SHE FEARED THREATENED AFFAIR A chalk heart scrawled near the family's driveway was still intact Saturday — unlike the ones broken by her affair with Petraeus. Corey Sipken/New York Daily News The North Carolina home of Paula Broadwell and her husband Scott. Greg E Mathieson, Sr./Splash News David Petraeus was sitting before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence for his confirmation hearing as the next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency while his wife Holly Petraeus (left) and author Paula Broadwell (right) watched on June 2011. "If you weigh her life in the balance, she's a good person. Life will go on," continued Williams. "Sometimes people make mistakes that pain their lives." Corey Sipkin/New York Daily News A message scrawled in chalk in front of the Broadwell's home: "Dad loves Mom."   Holly Petraeus became known for her work helping military families and assisting service members with financial problems as her husband ascended in rank. David J. Phillip/AP Petraeus with his wife Holly before Super Bowl XLIII in 2009.   The gregarious duo were regulars at block parties and were often seen jogging around the neighborhood, neighbors said.   Comedy Central Paula Broadwell is interviewed by Jon Stewart on an episode of the Daily Show on January 25, 2012. She recently called local reporters about a Veterans Day event to raise awareness for the injured soldiers. And she organized a Labor Day barbecue to support wounded veterans. Continue Reading

Pull back the curtain on drones

This week, President Obama nominated his homeland security adviser and deputy national security adviser for counterterrorism, John Brennan, to become the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency. In the coming weeks, a Senate committee will hold hearings, followed by a full Senate vote, that will likely confirm the appointment. The Senate must seize this narrow window of opportunity to publicly discuss, for the first time, the Obama administration’s policy of targeted killings by drones. Though many ordinary Americans are understandably uneasy with these secret attacks, the politicians we elect have so far subjected the program to almost no official scrutiny. There have been more than 400 drone strikes killing more than 3,000 people in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia over the past decade. Yet Congress has refused to assess or even question the effectiveness, legality and sustainability of this lethal tactic, which has increasingly come to define U.S. foreign policy. Brennan, more than any other single official, represents the program. He served as a foreign policy adviser to Obama’s presidential campaign in 2007. He subsequently led the President-elect’s review of U.S. intelligence policies, and was rumored to be a leading candidate for CIA director in November 2008. However, human rights groups and psychologists opposed Brennan based on his 25-year history in the CIA, including in senior positions when the agency engaged in rendition and torture. Brennan claimed he opposed these policies at the time — though his CIA peers could not recall this — then ultimately withdrew his name for consideration. Instead, Obama instead chose Brennan as his White House counterterrorism czar, where, according to administration officials, he served as “a priest whose blessing has become indispensable to Obama.” Brennan oversaw and managed the sprawling interagency process that nominated and vetted suspected militants and Continue Reading

Senator Lindsey Graham: Stall John Brennan’s CIA director nomination until administration releases more September 11 Benghazi attack information

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham said Tuesday that he wants to delay Senate confirmation of John Brennan as CIA director until the Obama administration releases more information about the Sept. 11 attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya. "The stonewalling on Benghazi by the Obama administration must come to an end," the senator said in a statement.   Graham said his move was not a reflection on Brennan’s qualifications. President Obama nominated the 25-year CIA veteran to lead the agency on Monday.   Republicans argue that the White House misled the public about the deadly attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans by first suggesting it was due to a violent protest rather than a terrorist attack.   Meanwhile, another leading Republican said Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will testify before a Senate panel about the deadly Libya assault on Jan. 22.   Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee, the top Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, disclosed the date in an interview on MSNBC. The committee has not officially confirmed the timing.   Clinton’s scheduled testimony before the committee was delayed last month when she fainted and suffered a concussion while battling a stomach bug.   She returned to work on Monday after the concussion resulted in a blood clot that put her in the hospital for three days.   The White House continued to urge the U.S. Senate to quickly confirm both Brennan and former Sen. Chuck Hagel, who was nominated to head the Pentagon.   "It would be unfortunate, I think, if in pursuit of this issue, which was highly politicized, the Senate would hold up the nomination of John Brennan to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency," White House Spokesman Jay Carney said.   With News Wire Services.   [email protected]   Click for video Continue Reading

Wife of Gen. David Petraeus, Holly Petraeus, ‘furious’ over Paula Broadwell affair, friend says on ‘Good Morning America’

He's survived two wars and being shot in the chest, but David Petraeus may have finally met his match: his enraged wife, Holly. A family friend said Monday the retired general’s spouse of 38 years is “not exactly pleased right now” that the CIA director had an affair with his biographer. READ MORE: PETRAEUS 'SHOCKED' AT GIRLFRIEND PAULA BROADWELL'S THREATENING EMAILS TO OTHER WOMAN Stephen Theriault Holly Petraeus (left) with Scott Kelley (center) and Jill Kelley (right) at a party.  “Furious would be an understatement,” Steve Boylan said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” As Holly Petraeus was stewing over the bedsheets betrayal, the other two female figures in the scandal hired high-profile lawyers. And President Obama was hunting for a new CIA chief as the FBI faced questions about its probe into the affair: what it knew, when it knew, and who it told. JILL KELLEY ID'd AS 'MYSTERY WOMAN' WHO GOT HARRASSING EMAIL FROM PAULA BROADWELL The mess will be a hot topic on Capitol Hill Wednesday for congressional intelligence committee leaders, FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce and acting CIA Director Michael Morell. POLS: WHY WERE WE LEFT IN THE DARK ON PETRAEUS PROBE? Petraeus had been scheduled to appear before congressional committees Thursday to testify about the Sept. 11 terror attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) suggested Congress could still try to compel Petraeus to testify about his recent trip to Benghazi. Bill Serne/New York Daily News Photos taken of Jill Kelley in her front yard during a birthday gathering in Tampa, Fla. “We are entitled to this trip report, and if we have to go to the floor of the Senate on a subpoena, we will do just that,” Feinstein said on MSNBC, ramping up the heat on the disgraced former general. TWO FAMILIES SHATTERED: ACCUSED PETRAEUS HAS 'IDYLLIC Continue Reading