Haspel did nothing more and nothing less than what the nation and the agency asked her to do, and she did it well. No one should read anything into her current nomination other than, as they say in the NFL, she is the “best athlete available in the draft,” an assessment supported by CIA veterans of the past two decades. When she was selected to be deputy director last year, I wrote that her choice signaled that the agency intended to neither repeat nor repudiate its past. That still holds.
The president has already indicated that he is not yet done with his personnel changes. There are near-daily rumors that National Security Adviser McMaster will soon leave, and many are handicapping John Bolton as the odds-on choice to succeed him. Bolton, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, would be another Trump-like voice for the administration choir.
So to my newfound friends to the left of the American political centerline, think twice before you oppose Haspel as director for her imagined past sins. She loves the agency, and she will work to preserve it.