Many believe Haspel’s confirmation will depend on Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Mark Warner of Virginia along with GOP Sens. Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky. Paul switched at the last minute this month and voted for Mike Pompeo to become Secretary of State, but it’s unclear whether he will do the same for Haspel. Collins, Manchin and Warner haven’t formally said how they’d vote on Haspel.
One of the contingency plans being discussed involves preparing Susan Gordon, the deputy director of national intelligence, to potentially take Haspel’s place in case Republican senators or Trump balk, two intelligence sources familiar with the matter said. Two additional sources who spoke with Republican strategists and lawmakers were also aware of general contingency planning. It’s unclear how formal these conversations are, but two of the sources said Gordon was in varying stages of being prepared.