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 TrumpTrump nominates ambassador to Turkey Trump heads to Mar-a-Lago after signing bill to avert shutdown CNN, MSNBC to air ad turned down by Fox over Nazi imagery 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 FeinsteinFeinstein says she thinks Biden will run after meeting with him Trump judicial nominee Neomi Rao seeks to clarify past remarks on date rape Bottom Line MORE (Calif.), Ron WydenRonald (Ron) Lee WydenDem lawmaker: 'Trump's presidency is the real national emergency' Dems introduce bill to take gender-specific terms out of tax code to make it LGBT-inclusive 8 surprising times our intel community spied on US citizens MORE (Ore.), Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisNewsom endorses Kamala Harris for president Constitutional conservatives need to oppose the national emergency Overnight Health Care — Sponsored by America's 340B Hospitals — Dems blast rulemaking on family planning program | Facebook may remove anti-vaccine content | Medicare proposes coverage for new cancer treatment MORE (Calif.) and Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichOvernight Defense: Dems aim to block use of defense funds for wall | Watchdog issues new warning on Syria withdrawal | Trump wants to 'watch Iran' from Iraq Senate Dems introduce bill to block Trump from using military funds to build wall Puerto Rico statehood supporters pin hopes on House action MORE (N.M.) — are now demanding that the director of national intelligence, Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsEx-Trump official says intel community's testimony interfered in US-North Korea talks Is a presidential appointment worth the risk? Intel agencies' threat assessment matters more than tiff with Trump 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.