🎧 ‘The Daily’: The C.I.A.’s Moral Reckoning | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: The C.I.A.’s Moral Reckoning by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

Gina Haspel, President Trump’s pick for C.I.A. director, faced the Senate Intelligence Committee for the first time on Wednesday as her confirmation hearings began. Lawmakers addressed her with an unusual line of questioning: What is your moral character?

On today’s episode:

• Matthew Rosenberg joins us from Washington, where he covers intelligence and national security for The New York Times.

Background reading:

• Ms. Haspel defended the C.I.A.’s torture of terrorism suspects after the Sept. 11 attacks, but vowed that she would not start another interrogation program.

• Among the issues raised in the hearing were Ms. Haspel’s involvement in a black site in Thailand where Qaeda suspects were tortured, her role in carrying out an order to destroy videotapes of C.I.A. interrogations, and her willingness to defy a president who has supported waterboarding.

We’ve recently seen the head of the F.B.I. be ousted because he ostensibly wouldn’t take a loyalty oath and refused to close an investigation. Could this happen again? Could it be far worse?

They stopped far too short here in opening up questions of harkening back to the Third Reich and Hitler and his government commanding people to commit genocide. We all know there’s a line one can’t cross and use the defense that “I was commanded to by the authorities.”

So the real question is: will Haspel stand up to Trump to prevent moral atrocities which Trump may want to inflict, whether this may extend to areas like torture or, perhaps, far worse?

🎧 ‘The Daily’: Gina Haspel and the Shadow of Torture | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: Gina Haspel and the Shadow of Torture by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

The Central Intelligence Agency is waging an unusual campaign to make Gina Haspel its next leader, despite her polarizing past. Why do officers see her most controversial quality as her greatest asset?

On today’s episode:

• Adam Goldman, a reporter who covers the intelligence community for The Times.

• John Bennett, a former chief of the C.I.A.’s clandestine service who retired in 2013.

Background reading:

• Gina Haspel, President Trump’s nominee for C.I.A. director, is expected to face tough questions at a Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday about her involvement in torture and secret prisons after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

• Ms. Haspel offered to withdraw her nomination last week amid concerns that her role in the brutal interrogation of a Qaeda suspect in Thailand would scuttle her confirmation.

Apparently there’s a broader story to be told about Haspel than the one that’s been circulating recently. Perhaps she’s not as pro-torture as previously indicated?

🎧 Season 2 Episode 2 The Road to Damascus | Revisionist History

Listened to Season 2 Episode 2 The Road to Damascus by Malcolm GladwellMalcolm Gladwell from Revisionist History

What happens when a terrorist has a change of heart? An Islamic militant, who left a trail of destruction in Europe, crosses over to work for the CIA. And then, one day, vanishes.

I’ve wanted to read both John Rizzo1 and Tim Weiner‘s2 books for a while. This is a good example of some of what I’ve apparently been missing here.

I can see this story being an awesome movie. In particular the crossing of the spy world, morality, and ethics have great potential for characters and some action.

References

1.
Rizzo J. Company Man: Thirty Years of Controversy and Crisis in the CIA. Simon and Schuster; 2014.
2.
Weiner T. Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA. Anchor; 2008.

👓 Ex-C.I.A. Official Resigns After Harvard Courts Chelsea Manning | New York Times

Read Harvard Disinvites Chelsea Manning, and the Feeling Is Mutual by (New York Times)
The dean of the Kennedy School said the selection of Ms. Manning for a fellowship had been a mistake, after protests from current and former C.I.A. officials.

Mike Morell interview by Charlie Rose on World Politics relating to the Presidential Election 2016

Watched Mike Morell interview on Charlie Rose by Charlie Rose from Charlie Rose
Mike Morell, former deputy director of the CIA, on Donald Trump and his recent op-ed endorsing Hillary Clinton.

First let’s start with the fact that I’m a big Mike Morell fan! If you want to know about world politics and know more about not only the big picture but the minutiae, and learn it from someone who can not only lay out an argument succinctly but with great depth, there is no better tutor than Morell. A former deputy director and a former acting director of the CIA, Mike Morell is about as good as it gets in understanding foreign policy. Morell is great at laying out simple facts and figures relating to incredibly complex and nuanced events and exploring a range of potential options, and then, only if asked, will provide any personal opinion on a subject. I love the fact that he appears frequently on Charlie Rose which is about as good as it gets in the interview game. Listening to their discussions will make you a better citizen, not only of America, but of the world.

Last week I was floored that Morell, a lifelong non-partisan due in great part to his decades long government service, broke ranks to endorse Hillary Clinton in an influential op-ed piece in the New York Times. I suspect (completely a gut reaction on my part) that despite not having registered with a political party, Morell leans more to the right and would generally vote Republican. Despite this, he laid out a scathing argument why Donald Trump should not be the next president. He was my foreign policy hero to begin with, but now I’ve got to build the pedestal even higher. I’m glad that despite the sacrifices he had to make to present such an argument, that he stood up firmly for what he believes is right for the country.

If you haven’t read his piece from Friday, I highly recommend it. If you prefer a video version with more discussion and elaboration, then last night’s Charlie Rose was fantastic.

Even better, if you want a scintillating and engaging primer on world politics, jump back into Rose’s extensive archives and watch all of Charlie Rose’s past interviews with Morell.