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National security officials prepare contingency plans if the nomination of Haspel fails



The drama surrounding Haspel's nomination escalated on Friday when she offered to withdraw her nomination, according to various sources familiar with the matter. She moved to Marc Short, the head of Legislative Affairs at the White House, and press secretary Sarah Sanders later spoke to her, two sources said. The tension finally seemed to ease and her nomination is now, according to the sources. The Washington Post first reported its offer to retire.

Trump nominated Haspel as the first woman to lead the CIA in March, and the election was controversial from the start. According to a White House official, there was always a degree of concern that Reel was in trouble, based on her previous work for the agency and the public controversy that inspired her. But this official said that they still believe that they will be confirmed.

Trump tried to get support in a Monday tweet for Reel before the confirmation hearing this week, calling her "highly respected" and saying she was "under attack because she was too harsh against terrorists."

Haspel's 33-year CIA career is controversial for a variety of reasons. She oversaw a CIA Black site in Thailand in 2002, where she was subjected to harsh interrogation even though she was not there when Al-Qaeda suspected that Abu Zubaydah was covered with water at least 83 times. She was also chief of staff of the Director of National Intelligence, Jose Rodriguez, in 2005, when the CIA interrogation tapes were destroyed. Rodriguez wrote in his memoirs that he asked Reel to prepare a cable that gave permission to destroy the tapes, though he made the decision.

National security officials say they still believe that they can survive a Senate confirmation hearing ̵

1; but some say that there are coincidences plans if they do not.

"The reason you see emergency planning is not a lack of confidence in Gina, but because they see the Democrat band together … they are worried that they are not" we will get the votes " A former national security source familiar with conversations on Capitol Hill said

Many believe that Haspel's approval of Democratic Sens, Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Mark Warner of Virginia, will depend on GOP Sens. Susan Collins Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky Paul left at the last minute last minute and voted for Mike Pompeo to become foreign minister but it is unclear whether he will do the same for Reel Collins, Manchin and Warner did not say formally How they would vote on Reel.

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One of the contingency plans in the pipeline is to prepare Susan Gordon, deputy director of National Intelligence, for Haspel's office if Republican senators or Trump balk, two intelligence sources, are familiar with the matter. Two additional sources speaking with Republican strategists and legislators were also aware of the general emergency planning. It is unclear how formal these discussions are, but two sources indicate that Gordon was prepared at various stages.

"Director Coats and PPDNI Sue Gordon believe that Gina is a good choice for the CIA Director and fully supports her nomination" Both believe she is the right leader at the right time, "said ODNI Spokesman Brian Hale to CNN and did not comment directly on whether or not Gordon's name had come up as a potential replacement.

Dean Boyd, a CIA spokesman, told CNN The agency had "no comment on this speculation."

White House CNN responded to a statement issued Sunday by Deputy Chief Press Director Raj Shah: "Acting Director Haspel is a high-caliber candidate. The nomination will not be criticized by partisans who cross the CIA with the ACLU for the to bring American people to safety. "

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Gordon himself has highly prized Reel and would have no personal interest in attacking her, she has repeatedly called her a good friend. "She is so solid, so true and so not breathless that she will be an amazing leader of the CIA, "Gordon said in April at a national security conference in Sea Island, Georgia.

Another source of intelligence insisted on this speech being Gordon, the reel despite Gordon's years of service in the United States CIA and the agency's love for replacing her was just gossip.

"This is stupid political play and it's crazy to think they're making it with a national security nomination," said a US ghost mdienstbeamter. "I can tell you that there are two people who will not play these games: Reel and Gordon."

Gordon, a former triple captain of the Duke Women's Basketball Team, shares a close connection with Sen. Richard Burr, a North Carolina Republican who heads the Senate Intelligence Committee

She is very popular and spent across the party line Like Haspel, working several decades through the CIA ranks. She began by analyzing Soviet weapon systems and satellites and later developed advanced leadership and operational skills in cyber operations, science and technology. She was the head behind In-Q-Tel, a CIA investment arm, to support innovative intelligence technology. She was deputy director of the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, which analyzes and maps the globe using radar, sensors, satellites and more. Now she plays a big part in uniting intelligence agencies as a whole and helping to manage the budget for all spies.

  Trump's CIA Pick Faces Grow Hill Test Over the Destruction of Interrogation Bands

For its part, Haspel will continue to aggressively prepare for its confirmation hearing scheduled for Wednesday, with meetings and "murder commission" sessions scheduled to finish.

Key players, including the CIA, the White House, legislators, civil rights groups, and the rest of the intelligence community work both in the public and behind the scenes to better understand where Reel stands.

When the news agencies began asking questions about why the White House did not go beyond hasp as did Pompeo, the White House released three press releases and made a record call to support Reel, a national security source, CNN said.

Despite this, Trump has talked relatively little about Reel in recent weeks, except that the agency would be pleased with "Our Gina" at Pompeo's swearing in the State Department.

The CIA pursues an aggressive public relations campaign, tweeting regularly about Reel and her education in Kentucky and the many awards she has received from former and current colleagues – bit by bit declassifying her records, including information about her meeting with Mother Teresa.

Critics have accused the agency of being overly involved in the nomination and opting for selective declassification, leaving only flattering details about their careers. However, if no details are released, this will lead to allegations of restraint, putting the public affairs bureau in a difficult position. Within the agency, there is a strict ban on staff to speak about the appointment, two sources familiar with CNN said. Regardless, two congressional staff told CNN that Reel could remain as deputy director of the CIA, if she does not get the votes. It is unclear how Trump would proceed if that were the case.

CNN's Pamela Brown, Barbara Starr and Jim Sciutto have contributed to this report.


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