CIA delivers classified materials to Congress on Haspel

The CIA has given Congress a tranche of classified documents related to the controversial undercover background of Gina Haspel, President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren: Dershowitz presentation 'nonsensical,' 'could not follow it' Bolton told Barr he was concerned Trump did favors for autocrats: report Dershowitz: Bolton allegations would not constitute impeachable offense MORE's choice to lead the spy agency.

The delivery — a single cardboard box marked "hand carry" that was wheeled in on a dolly to a secure facility in the Capitol basement — comes as the agency is under fierce pressure from Democrats to declassify more information about Haspel's involvement in its now-defunct detention and interrogation program.

"As Acting Director Haspel promised, CIA delivered a set of classified documents to the Senate today so that every Senator can review Acting Director Haspel's actual, and outstanding record," a CIA spokesperson said in a statement  
 
"These documents cover the entirety of her career, including her time in CIA’s Counter Terrorism Center in the years after 9/11. We encourage every Senator to take the time to read the entire set of documents."
ADVERTISEMENT

It's unclear how much detail the CIA has provided lawmakers in advance of her Wednesday hearing, which is expected to be contentious. A second box, similarly marked, was also delivered to the Senate Intelligence Committee's secure spaces.  

Because so much of Haspel’s record is still classified — 32 of her 33 years at the agency were spent undercover — much of the fight in Congress has revolved around what information, if any, the CIA will make public about her past.

As the current acting director, Haspel herself is the declassification authority over her own record. On Friday, she reportedly offered to withdraw her nomination if it would avoid a bruising fight for the agency over its use of so-called enhanced interrogation techniques, which are now widely considered torture, in the years following the Sept. 11 attacks. 

Four Democratic senators — Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinExtreme Risk Protection Order Act will help keep guns out of the wrong hands California Democrat Christy Smith launches first TV ad in bid for Katie Hill's former House seat Biden wins endorsement of Sacramento mayor MORE (Calif.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenTax season could bring more refund confusion Hillicon Valley — Presented by Philip Morris International — Wyden asks NSA to investigate White House cybersecurity | Commerce withdraws Huawei rule after Pentagon objects | Warren calls on Brazil to drop Greenwald charges Wyden vows push to force release of Khashoggi assessment MORE (Ore.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisBiden leads 2020 pack in congressional endorsements Harris on 2020 endorsement: 'I am not thinking about it right now' Panel: Is Kamala Harris a hypocrite for mulling a Joe Biden endorsement? MORE (Calif.) and Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichDemocratic senator blasts 'draconian' press restrictions during impeachment trial Health care, spending bills fuel busy year for K Street Schumer introduces bill requiring GDP measure inequality MORE (N.M.) — are now demanding that the director of national intelligence, Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsSchiff schedules public hearing with US intel chief  Rod Rosenstein joins law and lobbying firm DHS issues bulletin warning of potential Iranian cyberattack MORE, intervene to declassify the information.

"Given that Ms. Haspel, as the current Acting Director of the CIA, is in the conflicted position of serving as the classification authority over potentially derogatory information related to her own nomination, we can think of no more appropriate situation for you to serve as the relevant authority," the lawmakers wrote in a Friday letter. 

Democrats have complained that the CIA is selectively declassifying only positive information about Haspel and suggested that continuing to keep her record under wraps violates an Obama-era executive order prohibiting the use of classification to “conceal violations of law, inefficiency, or administrative error” or “prevent embarrassment to a person, organization, or agency.”

As members of the intelligence panel, the four senators have access to classified information that the rest of their colleagues do not, and Wyden has hinted repeatedly that there is much about Haspel’s background that remains unknown.

Former intelligence officials — including critics of the Trump administration — have praised her as a professional, experienced officer.