May 16, 2018
“As a CIA officer for more than 30 years, Gina Haspel has had to make tough decisions to keep our country safe. When she’s confirmed, all Americans will be able to sleep soundly knowing that she is on the job providing the security that we all need.”
Click here to watch Sen. Barrasso’s remarks.
WASHINGTON, D.C.— Today, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) spoke on the Senate floor about why the Senate should vote as soon as possible to confirm Gina Haspel, President Trump’s nominee to be the director of the Central Intelligent Agency (CIA).
Excerpts of Senator Barrasso’s remarks:
“Yesterday, President Trump joined Republican senators for lunch.
“He was very optimistic, and very positive about a lot of the developments in America’s foreign policy in places like North Korea.
“At the same time, we all recognize that the world continues to be a very dangerous place.
“National security must be our first responsibility.
“My goal is a nation that is safe, strong, and secure.
“To have safety and security at home, we need peace and stability abroad.
“Republicans in Congress understand that.
“So does President Trump – and so does Gina Haspel.
“That’s why the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence today, approved Gina Haspel’s nomination to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.
“It was a bipartisan vote.
“That used to be the normal way things operated around here –in a bipartisan way.
“When you had a nominee who was undeniably qualified, they got support from both sides of the aisle.
“It has become very uncommon over the past year.
“Democrats have decided to obstruct President Trump’s nominees for important jobs almost at any cost.
“Gina Haspel got this rare bipartisan approval from the committee for the right reason –because she is the right person for this job.
“Now we’ll have a vote on the Senate floor.
“This should be one of the easiest votes for members to cast all year.
“The director of the Central Intelligence Agency is a very important member of the president’s national security team.
“She is the right person for the job.
“She’s been a career intelligence officer for 33 years – that goes back to the days of the Ronald Reagan administration.
“She actually got interested in the CIA when she learned that women could serve there doing clandestine work all around the world.
“She’s served in Africa, in Russia, in central Europe, in Asia – and she’s held top jobs at the agency’s headquarters.
“She understands every element of the work of America’s intelligence community.
“Since she is actually the acting head of the agency today, I think anyone would be hard pressed to say that she’s not up to the job because she is doing the job.
“She has the faith and the trust of the men and women in the field who keep us safe every day.
“Let’s not forget that she’s also worked very closely with Mike Pompeo.
“He was head of the CIA, now he’s Secretary of State.
“Having two people in these important jobs who already have a solid, respectful working relationship is extremely important for making sure that the United States foreign policy is airtight.
“There is no one else the president could have nominated who would have been able to work as closely with Secretary of State Pompeo.
“She’s an expert on terrorism. She’s an intelligence expert. She’s a national security expert.
“She began her work at the CIA during the Cold War – so she has a deep understanding of Russia, and a deep understanding of our challenges there.
“I think it’s clear that Gina Haspel is an absolute star nominee for this vitally important job.
“I’m not the only one saying so. The list of people who have come out and endorsed her nomination goes on and on.
“At least six former leaders of the Central Intelligence Agency have all come out publicly to praise her qualifications and her abilities.
“CIA directors under President Obama, under President Bush, under President Clinton – Republicans and Democrats, all agree that she is the right person for this job.
“Look at what they’ve had to say.
“Michael Hayden was director under President Bush.
“He wrote: ‘Gina Haspel is the person America needs at the CIA.’
“He said that she ‘is someone you want in the room when big decisions are made.’
“Or look what Leon Panetta said, who had the job under President Obama.
“He said that he was glad that she would be the first woman to head the agency, ‘because frankly she is someone who really knows the CIA inside out.’
“Look at John Brennan. He also ran the agency under President Obama.
“He said in an interview that she has the experience – the breadth and depth – on intelligence issues and foreign policy issues over many, many years.
“It’s clear that this is someone who is very highly regarded by people who know her, people who’ve worked with her, and people who have relied on her judgment and her expertise.
“That experience, and that clear-eyed judgment, is more important today than perhaps at any other time since the end of the Cold War.
“Our nation’s adversaries are cunning, they are opportunistic, and they are aggressive.
“We face challenges in dealing with Syria, in dealing with ISIS.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us in Iran.
“Next month President Trump will be meeting with North Korea to try to end their nuclear program.
“Now, I remain skeptical about North Korea, and so do a lot of Republicans in the Senate.
“But this is the best opportunity we have ever had to try to get nuclear weapons out of North Korea.
“The president needs his full team in place.
“This isn’t a simple political game for Democrats to play for TV cameras.
“This is about peace and security of the world and safety and strength for the United States.
“As a CIA officer for more than 30 years, Gina Haspel has had to make tough decisions to keep our country safe.
“The decision we face to confirm her nomination to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency is not a tough decision at all.
“I will vote loud and clear in support of her nomination.
“When she’s confirmed, all Americans will be able to sleep soundly knowing that she is on the job providing the security that we all need.”