23 May, Wednesday


Two-thirds of America supports Trump's CIA pick - Let's not ignore the will of the people

Analytical Wing

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President Trump’s nominee for Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has come under fire for her role in the agency’s enhanced interrogation techniques which included waterboarding during the war on terror.
 
However, Democrats’ outrage on the issue is ironic in light of their perennial disconnect with the American people as well as a review of American public opinion on the matter for the decade after the 9/11 terror attacks.
 
Not only was the interrogation tactic approved at the time by the United States government, the CIA, the Department of Defense and the president of the United States but at that time, an overwhelming majority of Americans supported it.
 
According to a Rasmussen poll, nearly two-thirds of Americans — 58 percent — agreed that “waterboarding and other aggressive interrogation tactics should be used to gain information from the terrorist.”
 
The poll was in commissioned in response to the 2009 “underwear bomber” who attempted to bring down a Northwest Airlines flight on Christmas Day — a near-catastrophic attempted terrorist attack that former CIA director John Brennan admitted he dropped the ball on as White House counter-terror adviser.
 
A Pew Research Center poll also showed that 54 percent of American people supported waterboarding in November of that same year — more than eight years after the 9/11 attacks. The data underscores the tense times in which Americans lived and the measures they were willing to support in order to ensure national security nearly a decade after the attacks on the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and in Shanksville, Pa.
 
Nate Silver’s Fivethirtyeight blog even reported in 2014, “Americans have grown more supportive of torture” and pointed out that approval ratings of enhanced interrogation techniques — such as waterboarding, sleep deprivation and sexual threats — had reached a 53 percent high among the American people.
 
In fact according to more than a dozen polls, support for the waterboarding technique sustained around a 50 percent approval rating — there was never strong, lopsided opposition against it. At best, American public sentiment on the matter was split.
 
Incidentally, the 50 percent approval rating for waterboarding was higher than most presidents’ approval ratings. This includes President Barack Obama’s approval ratings while in office and nearly 40 points higher than Congress’ own approval rating which was at a low of nine percent in recent years.
 
In executing her duties, CIA director nominee Gina Haspel was simply doing her job and as it turns out, it’s a job the American people wanted her to do and some still want her to do, including Green Beret and former UFC fighter Tim Kennedy who live streamed himself being waterboarded this week to promote her nomination. The video has been viewed more than 200,000 times.
 
The irony of Democrats ignoring the will of the American people is not lost on anyone following politics today. First they attempted to deny the electoral college’s rightful place in duly electing our president according to the will of the people. Next,  their leader called the American Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’s massive tax cuts “crumbs.” Now, they suggest suggest that a stellar choice to lead the CIA should be rebuked because she fulfilled a policy enforced by her employer which was approved by Congress at the time and was supported by the majority of American people.
 
This kind of backwards, illogical thinking is precisely why people in the rest of America have come to detest “The Swamp.”
 
As for Haspel’s survival, she is expected to sail out of the Senate Intelligence Committee with approval this week. However, next week’s anticipated vote looks less certain. Here’s hoping that since she has worked in far-flung places around the globe, she has waders high enough to wade through it and make history by becoming the first female director of the world’s finest intelligence community.

The Hill

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