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Just minutes ago, Tina Smith announced via this tweet that she won’t vote to confirm Gina Haspel as the next CIA Director. In the tweet, Smith said “I’ve been clear since the start. I will vote NO on Gina Haspel. We cannot have someone lead the CIA who has involvement with torture on her resume. That Bush-era legacy is not something to be proud of.”

Sen. Smith’s after-the-fact quarterbacking is insulting. After 9/11, everyone was certain there’d be another terrorist attack. There wasn’t another terrorist attack because the Bush 43 CIA discovered the intelligence that took out entire terrorist networks. That happened only because of the enhanced interrogation techniques employed right after 9/11.

Smith’s faux moral preening is sickening. If she wants to argue whether ‘torture’ is effective, that’s one thing. Arguing that it’s immoral to torture a terrorist to gain information that disrupts an entire network of terrorists tells me that Smith puts a higher priority on moral preening than on doing whatever is necessary to prevent terrorist attacks. People with that attitude are foolish. They shouldn’t be U.S. senators.


At the time that these techniques were used, they were perfectly legal. The ‘torture law’ didn’t get enacted until years later. Apparently, Tina Smith thinks it’s ok to punish a person for doing things that were perfectly legal at the time they were done.

Further, Smith apparently hasn’t considered whether Gina Haspel is qualified for the job. Unlike Smith, Haspel was on the front lines taking out terrorist networks and keeping America safe. After helping Walter Mondale lose to Norm Coleman in 2002, Tina Smith went to work for “Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota.” Wow. Talk about fighting on the front lines in the war on terror. Simply put, Tina Smith isn’t qualified to render an opinion on fighting terrorists. She’s a community activist. She isn’t a policy wonk by any stretch of the imagination. She’s a policy lightweight.

On the other hand, she’s perfectly suited to do what Chuck Schumer orders her to do. That seems to be the only thing she’s skilled at.

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Last week, Sen. Kamala Harris pretended to be a legitimate presidential contender in 2020. Unfortunately for Sen. Harris, she looked more like a scold than a serious policymaker. While questioning Gina Haspel during Haspel’s confirmation to become the next CIA Director, Sen. Harris initially asked “One question I’ve not heard you answer is, do you believe the previous interrogation techniques were immoral?” When “Haspel began with a response about the tactics’ legality,” Sen. Harris interrupted, saying “I’m not asking do you believe they were legal, I’m asking do you believe they were immoral.”

Rather than backing down or throwing her fellow agents under the bus, Haspel stood her ground. Before she did that, unfortunately, Haspel had to endure an ill-informed lecture from Harris. Sen. Harris lectured Haspel about how the person they’ll vote for or against will inform our allies “about our values.” Sen. Harris also talked about “what we prioritize as our moral authority.”

Frankly, if that’s what’s important to Sen. Harris, then she’s disqualified to ever being commander-in-chief. Period. Long before Sen. Harris became California’s Attorney General, Gina Haspel was a successful CIA interrogator who prevented multiple terrorist attacks by gaining important information from terrorists. In the days following 9/11, when most Americans were certain that there’d be more terrorist attacks, President Bush made the right decision that preventing future attacks no matter what it took was his highest priority.

The vast majority of people agree with that decision. Moral preening doesn’t have a place in that conversation. Leadership mattered. Making the right decisions on the fly was required. President Bush provided both at a time of crisis. Sen. Harris hasn’t provided either quality:

The good news is that neither Sen. Harris or Sen. McCain will prevent Gina Haspel from becoming the first female DCI. She will be confirmed, though by a fairly tight margin.

That’s unfortunate because, in terms of qualifications, she’s the most qualified candidate in decades and it isn’t all that close. Gina Haspel will become one of the best DCIs. She won’t exceed Mike Pompeo but she’ll surpass John Brennan. Then again, a worn-out trench coat would be more qualified than John Brennan.

After President Trump officially announced that he was pulling out of the JCPOA, President Obama criticized him, saying “today’s announcement is … misguided. Walking away from the JCPOA turns our back on America’s closest allies, and an agreement that our country’s leading diplomats, scientists, and intelligence professionals.” Actually, the JCPOA wasn’t negotiated by “our country’s leading diplomats, scientists, and intelligence professionals.” It was negotiated by dimwits like John Kerry, John Brennan and Susan Rice. I’d hardly call them the best and brightest of our diplomats. I’d call them the Three Stooges.

Included in President Obama criticism was the statement that “First, the JCPOA was not just an agreement between my Administration and the Iranian government. After years of building an international coalition that could impose crippling sanctions on Iran, we reached the JCPOA together with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, the European Union, Russia, China, and Iran. It is a multilateral arms control deal, unanimously endorsed by a United Nations Security Council Resolution.” That’s precisely what it was. It wasn’t a treaty ratified by the Senate. If it had been a negotiated treaty, it would’ve been subjected to a humiliating bipartisan rejection of President Obama’s national security policy towards Iran.

John Brennan criticized President Trump in this barely lucid diatribe:


Again, this wasn’t US agreement. That status is only conferred with treaty ratification. Without the Senate’s advice and consent, the agreement is nothing except an agreement between an idiot masquerading as a commander-in-chief and a room full of Islamic theocrats.

Further, President Trump’s decision instructs the world’s despots that he won’t tolerate wink-and-a-nod deals that don’t protect the American people. Like Charles Krauthammer once said, “it isn’t that there’s a new sheriff in town. It’s that there’s a sheriff in town.” President Trump’s official announcement sends the strong message that he’s putting a higher priority on national security than on weak-kneed diplomacy.

This paragraph illustrates how big of a liar President Obama is:

Third, the JCPOA does not rely on trust – it is rooted in the most far-reaching inspections and verification regime ever negotiated in an arms control deal. Iran’s nuclear facilities are strictly monitored. International monitors also have access to Iran’s entire nuclear supply chain, so that we can catch them if they cheat. Without the JCPOA, this monitoring and inspections regime would go away.

The inspection regime was virtually nonexistent. Inspectors couldn’t go anywhere at any time. They had to get permission from the IRGC. Then there was a thirty-day waiting time. That isn’t the definition of “far-reaching inspections.” That’s the definition of wimpy inspections agreed to by a weak-kneed American president and his pathetic ‘national security team’.

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Minutes ago, Rand Paul announced that he’s voting yes to confirm Mike Pompeo as President Trump’s next Secretary of State.

Several Monday conversations with President Donald Trump, a meeting with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and reassurances about Afghanistan led Sen. Rand Paul to announce Monday evening that he would vote to support Pompeo as the next Secretary of State. Paul recounted his decision process on Twitter as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee prepared to vote on the Pompeo confirmation. The senator spoke with President Trump several times during the day and met with Pompeo.

“After calling continuously for weeks for Director Pompeo to support President Trump’s belief that the Iraq war was a mistake, and that it is time to leave Afghanistan, today I received confirmation the Director Pompeo agrees with @realDonaldTrump,” wrote Paul.

That’s just part of the breaking news today:

Three Democrat senators declared their intention to break ranks with other Senate Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee, ahead of the vote. Red state Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Joe Manchin (WV), and Joe Donnelly (IN) each face November re-election fights in states that went for Trump in 2016.

It isn’t coincidental that they’re all red state Democrats in for the fight of their political lives. This means all of the Democrats voting against confirming Director Pompeo are exposed as putting their membership in #Resistance ahead of being patriots.

Thursday afternoon, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp announced that she will vote to confirm Mike Pompeo as the next US Secretary of State.

According to the Washington Post’s reporting, “North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp on Thursday became the first Senate Democrat to announce she would support CIA director Mike Pompeo’s bid to become secretary of state, potentially clinching his bid, as long as no more Republicans refuse to vote for confirmation. Heitkamp’s announcement, in which she said that “Pompeo demonstrated … that he is committed to empowering the diplomats at the State Department,” will not make it any easier for Pompeo to secure the support of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee before his bid heads to the floor. The panel is to vote on his nomination Monday, but with several committee Democrats and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) pledging to vote against Pompeo, his chances of securing the 21-member panel’s favorable recommendation are slim.”

One of the things from the article that’s troubling is where it reports “Pompeo … became CIA director last year with the support of 14 Senate Democrats; at least six of them, including the two who sit on the Foreign Relations Committee, have refused to back Pompeo as the nation’s top diplomat.”

While it’s likely that a couple more Democrats will vote in the affirmative to confirm Director Pompeo, it’s a sad day in the history of the Senate, especially for Democrats. First, playing games with our national security is disgraceful. Speaking of disgraceful, apparently, Sen. Heitkamp is apparently trying to have it both ways:

That wouldn’t be the first time she’s tried that tactic. Last September, Heitkamp hinted that she was interested in President Trump’s tax cuts. That’s why she got to fly with President Trump to a rally in North Dakota. Eventually, she voted against the tax cuts.

The Democrats who voted to confirm Pompeo as CIA Director but who won’t vote to confirm him as Secretary of State are playing political games. During Easter weekend, Pompeo took a trip to North Korea to meet with Kim Jung Un to start the process for President Trump’s meeting with the dictator. What excuse do Democrats have for not confirming Pompeo as America’s top diplomat? That he’s too accomplished at sensitive diplomacy? Would Democrats say that Pompeo finished too high in his class at West Point? That he finished too high in his class at Harvard Law School? (Pompeo finished first in his class in both instances.)

The truth is that Democrats are totally political creatures. Their special interests insist that Democrats resist, resist, resist at all costs. I wrote this post outlining the Democrats’ biggest problem:

I’d love questioning Sen. Manchin or Sen. Heitkamp why they voted against the tax cuts that’ve pushed the US economy into overdrive. That’s the opposite of patriotism. That’s the definition of partisanship.

If Democrats looked seriously at Mike Pompeo’s qualifications and accomplishments, they’d vote unanimously to confirm him. Instead, it’s likely that just 2-3 Democrats will vote to confirm him.

If Democrats cared more about their country than they care about playing politics, this nation wouldn’t be divided as it is. Finally, if Democrats put the people first, they wouldn’t have lost America’s heartland. The Democrats aren’t the profiles in courage that liberal icon JFK once famously wrote about. Instead, they’re a bunch of sniveling spoiled brats.

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If there was ever a doubt about whether Senate Democrats would be obstructionists, this article should shout ‘Democratic obstructionism’. President Trump announced today that he’ll announce his SCOTUS nominee next week sometime. Democrats are feeling bitter that Republicans give Merrick Garland, President Obama’s pick to replace Antonin Scalia, a committee hearing.

It isn’t surprising to hear that “Democrats and their allies remain furious that Senate Republicans refused to even consider Judge Garland, President Barack Obama’s nominee to the high court, with 10 months remaining in Mr. Obama’s second term. That deep resentment is certain to color their handling of Mr. Trump’s choice just as it has contributed to their resistance to moving quickly on Mr. Trump’s cabinet selections.”

I respectfully disagree with that last statement. Democrats aren’t just upset with the fact that Republicans didn’t hold a hearing on Judge Garland. They’re also upset that Hillary lost. They’re upset that they didn’t retake the majority in the Senate, too. They’re upset that their coalition was demolished by ‘blue collar billionaire’ Donald Trump.

That’s their fault. Democrats hitched their wagon to Obama’s and Mrs. Clinton’s stars. The DNC leadership team was corrupt to the point that they, not voters, picked Hillary Clinton to be their presidential nominee. Mrs. Clinton ran the worst campaign in the last half-century.

All indications are that they see the forthcoming nomination as a chance to take a strong stand against the new president, since they still have the power to filibuster a Supreme Court choice — at least for now.

Democrats now think that resisting the newly-sworn-in president is their path back to power. What they’re really doing is paving the way for his re-election.

People won’t agree with Senate Republicans not granting Garland a hearing but they definitely won’t agree with Democrats acting like spoiled brats, either. That’s what the Democrats’ ‘resistance’ looks like to apolitical people.

Top Democrats say they don’t intend to play “tit for tat” with the nomination. But they say they will insist on what they consider to be a mainstream candidate capable of securing at least the 60 votes needed to thwart any filibuster. Otherwise, they promise to do whatever they can to block the nominee.

The Democrats are being stupid. If President Trump nominates Judge Gorsuch, he’ll be nominating a solid judge whose opinions are well-written. Do Democrats really want to put up a big fight against an articulate judge? It’s their option but I wouldn’t advise them to do that. That’s wasting tons of political capital on a lost cause. If Democrats filibuster President Trump’s SCOTUS nominee, they’ll put the Supreme Court off-limits for a generation. This is the face of Democratic senators:

This is rich:

“We are not going to do what the Republicans did,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, “but if the candidate’s out of the mainstream, I can tell you I will fight and my caucus will fight tooth and nail against them.”

That’s coming from the liar who sabotaged Mike Pompeo’s confirmation vote.

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When I wrote this post, I hadn’t read Stephen Hayes’ devastating article about Sen. Chuck Schumer’s dishonesty. In the post, I wrote that Democrats put a higher priority on their PR stunt, aka “the Resistance”, than they put on protecting national security.

I wasn’t as cynical as I should’ve been. According to Hayes’ article, according “to six sources familiar with the negotiations over Pompeo’s confirmation, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told Republican leaders that he would allow Pompeo to be confirmed by voice vote on Inauguration Day, along with two other Trump nominees who have national security responsibilities. But Schumer broke his promise, these sources say, and offered an insulting excuse for having done so.”

Later in the article, Hayes wrote “McConnell consulted Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr, Intel committee member Tom Cotton, and the incoming Trump administration. Republicans agreed to delay Pompeo, whose team was happy to have an extra day to prepare. But the Republicans had a condition. If we agree to push back Pompeo’s hearing for a day, they told Schumer, you must agree to include him in the group of national security officials who will be confirmed by a voice vote on Inauguration Day, January 20. According to these sources, Schumer agreed, with alacrity, having secured the delay he’d sought.”

That didn’t happen:

But on January 19, one day before Trump’s inauguration, Ron Wyden said he’d seek to delay Pompeo’s confirmation when the Senate convened late Friday afternoon. That evening Cotton, who is close to Pompeo from their time together in the House of Representatives, began calling his colleagues on the Senate Intelligence Committee, including Wyden, seeking to avoid the delay. Some of the calls were cordial. Others were testy.

The Senate reconvened after the inaugural ceremonies on Friday, with Pompeo’s nomination set to come up at 4:50pm. Cotton angrily confronted Schumer about his broken promise. According to witnesses, Schumer told Cotton to lower his voice and asked him move off of the Senate floor to an adjacent hallway for a private discussion. “We need to take this out into the hallway,” Schumer said. Cotton walked with Schumer but loudly rejected his first request. “Don’t tell me to lower my voice!” he shouted, with an additional salty admonition tacked on for emphasis. Burr and Cornyn were present, as was Senator Mark Warner, ranking member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and several aides.

Schumer told Cotton that the Senate had never previously confirmed a CIA director on Inauguration Day and if Cotton had been around eight years earlier, he’d know that Republicans didn’t extend that courtesy for incoming president Barack Obama. “Eight years ago, I was getting my ass shot at in Afghanistan,” Cotton snapped. “So don’t talk to me about where I was 8 years ago.

Sen. Schumer shouldn’t be trusted. He’s always been a snake whose word was worthless. Sen. McConnell should try to work with trustworthy Democrats while avoiding dealing with Sen. Schumer as often as possible.

Sen. Schumer is a liar. I don’t trust him whatsoever. If he tries filibustering President Trump’s SCOTUS nominees, I’d blow up the filibuster, then name it the Schumer Option. I’d explain that name by saying Sen. Schumer’s dishonesty forced the rule change.

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Later today, the Senate Intelligence Committee will release a report on terrorist interrogations. It’s already being called the “Torture Report.” Retired CIA officer Jose Rodriguez wrote this op-ed to expose Dianne Feinstein’s and Nancy Pelosi’s dishonesty. Let’s start with this:

According to news accounts of the report, Feinstein and her supporters will say that the CIA violated American principles and hid the ugly truth from Congress, the White House and the public. When the report comes out, I expect that few of the critics who will echo Feinstein’s charges will have read it and far fewer will read or understand the minority response and the CIA’s rebuttal.

The interrogation program was authorized by the highest levels of the U.S. government, judged legal by the Justice Department and proved effective by any reasonable standard. The leaders of the Senate and House Intelligence Committees and of both parties in Congress were briefed on the program more than 40 times between 2002 and 2009. But Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) tried to deny that she was told in 2002 that detainees had been waterboarded. That is simply not true. I was among those who briefed her.

Sen. Feinstein and Rep. Pelosi should be tarred and feathered for their dishonesty. That Ms. Pelosi would say that she hadn’t been briefed by Mr. Rodriguez is proof of Ms. Pelosi’s utter dishonesty. She should be criticized mercilessly for being a liar. After that, Democrats should be tarred and feathered for deserting a program that saved American lives for purely partisan reasons.

Initially, Democrats insisted that the CIA do all that it could to prevent another terrorist attack:

In one ear they hear the public, the media and members of Congress raising alarms about the terrorist threat from the Islamic State: Do something! Do it now! Why didn’t you do something sooner?

The Democrats’ dishonesty is easily explained. In the days after 9/11, Democrats put the needs of the nation first. By 2006, the Democrats noticed how animated the anti-war left had become. Seeking to capitalize on the anti-war left’s enthusiasm, Democrats like Sen. Feinstein, Ms. Pelosi and candidates like Amy Klobuchar ran as anti-war lefties. The same anti-war lefties then powered Barack Obama’s presidential election victory in 2008.

Members of Congress and the administration were nearly unanimous in their desire that the CIA do all that it could to debilitate and destroy al-Qaeda. The CIA got the necessary approvals to do so and kept Congress briefed throughout.

Democrats say that waterboarding violates American principles. That’s BS. Since when does saving hundreds of American lives violate American principles? I’d love seeing a Democrat explain how saving American lives violates American principles, especially since the Constitution requires the president to protect and defend the United States.

This morning’s op-ed isn’t Mr. Rodriguez’s first op-ed. Here’s what he wrote in his April, 2014 op-ed:

On Thursday, the Senate Intelligence Committee voted to declassify and release hundreds of pages of its report on U.S. terrorist interrogation practices. Certain senators have proclaimed how devastating the findings are, saying the CIA’s program was unproductive, badly managed and misleadingly sold. Unlike the committee’s staff, I don’t have to examine the program through a rearview mirror. I was responsible for administering it, and I know that it produced critical intelligence that helped decimate al-Qaeda and save American lives.

Here’s Mr. Rodriguez’s opinion of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s report:

The committee’s staff members started with a conclusion in 2009 and have chased supportive evidence ever since. They never spoke to me or other top CIA leaders involved in the program, or let us see the report.

The thought that this report would be praised by Democrats as the definitive report on the CIA’s interrogation techniques is insulting to thoughtful, honest people. The Feinstein Report is a political hatchet job. It isn’t a serious review of the CIA’s interrogation techniques.

If a CIA expert said that EITs “saved American lives”, I’ll trust him, not partisan Democrat hacks like Sen. Feinstein or Ms. Pelosi.

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According to top US intelligence officials, al-Qa’ida is morphing so it can fight other fights:

“Is al Qaeda on the run and on the path to defeat?” Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-OK, asked in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday.

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper responded, “No, it is morphing and and franchising itself and not only here but other areas of the world.” Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, added, “They are not.”

Former President George W. Bush asserted that that al Qaeda network was “on the run” as early as October 2001. President Obama adopted the phrase and used it repeatedly on the campaign trail in 2012. Touting his foreign policy record, Mr. Obama often said, “al Qaeda is on the run and Osama bin Laden is dead.”

What’s troubling about this testimony is that it indicates this administration’s policies are flawed. While President Obama loves talking about taking out core al-Qa’ida, it doesn’t say what it’s doing to gather intelligence that’s capable of rolling up entire networks.

The Obama administration has trumpeted its successes in killing terrorists with drone strikes. They certainly trumpeted the killing of bin Laden. What they didn’t do is keep these victories quiet, giving terrorists information that helped them quickly adjust.

Further, this isn’t doing anything to adjust to al-Qa’ida’s changing identity, which is needed to thwart future attacks. Most importantly, though, is that this administration has stopped hunting al-Qa’ida where it lives. It’s frustrating knowing that America’s withdrawal from Iraq and Afghanistan is turning territory once taken from al-Qa’ida is now being given back to al-Qa’ida and the Taliban.

If al-Qa’ida sees that the US is exiting the Middle East and north Africa, they’ll know that they’ll soon be controlling large chunks of real estate that can quickly be turned into terrorist training camps. In short, President Obama is giving back the victories President Bush won.

President Obama won’t admit this but al-Qa’ida isn’t on the run. It’s growing its control of large parts of the developing world. Simply put, they’re achieving their goals. We’re failing at achieving our goals.

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In a shocking statement after the House hearing, Rep. Peter King confirmed that Gen. Petraeus testified that the CIA’s original talk points were edited:

Here’s a partial transcript of Rep. King’s statement:

REP. KING: How did the final talking points emerge? He said it went through a long process involving many agencies, including the Department of Justice and the State Department. No one knows yet who came up with the final version of talking points other than to say that the talking points that the CIA had put together were different than the talking points that finally emerged.

Later, Rep. King said “The original talking points were much more specific about al-Qa’ida involvement.”

That’s explosive testimony. Gen. Petraeus essentially said that the CIA, the people that gather the intelligence, originally identified al-Qa’ida as being involved in the attack. Equally explosive is the fact that the original CIA talking points were changed by people outside the intelligence community.

That means what’s been known up till now as “the CIA’s talking points” weren’t put together by the CIA. It includes the possibility that the talking points that Susan Rice referenced were political in nature.

The minute Rice’s talking points don’t have the heft and credibility of being from the CIA is the minute these talking points lose their credibility. It’s also the minute Ambassador Rice’s story loses credibility.

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