National Security

Senate panel to hold nomination hearing for Biden Intelligence director nominee this week

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The Senate Intelligence Committee will hold a hearing later this week to consider the nomination of Avril Haines, President-elect Joe Biden’s pick for director of national intelligence (DNI), committee leaders announced Wednesday.

Acting Committee Chairman Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Vice Chairman Mark Warner (D-Va.) announced that the hearing, set for Friday, will be virtual and livestreamed to the public. 

Haines is the former deputy director of the CIA and a former deputy national security adviser to former President Obama, and was nominated by Biden to serve as DNI in November. If confirmed, she will be the first woman to lead the intelligence community.

In comments to the media following her nomination last year, Haines vowed to “work on behalf of the American people,” promising to “speak truth to power.”

Haines may face a tough battle with Rubio, who has publicly expressed his concerns around Biden’s Cabinet picks. 

“Biden’s cabinet picks went to Ivy League schools, have strong resumes, attend all the right conferences & will be polite & orderly caretakers of America’s decline,” Rubio tweeted in November. “I support American greatness. And I have no interest in returning to the ‘normal’ that left us dependent on China.”

Warner, who will soon take over as chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, has by contrast previously expressed his strong support for Haines’s nomination.

“Avril is smart and capable, with a background that will serve her well as Director of National Intelligence,” Warner said in a statement in November. “While I expect that she will face rigorous questioning from Senators on both sides of the aisle, the sooner we can get a confirmed DNI in place to start fixing the damage the last four years have done to our intelligence agencies, the better.”

Haines’s hearing will be the first of the Senate nomination hearings for Biden’s picks for his Cabinet. Four more hearings are due to take place early next week, with committees set to hear from Biden’s picks for secretaries of Defense, Homeland Security, State and the Treasury on Tuesday. 

Biden has pushed for his Cabinet picks to be confirmed quickly after the attack by rioters on the U.S. Capitol last week in order to respond to the crisis as smoothly and quickly as possible.

“Given what our country has been through the last four years — the last few days — given the threats and the risks in this world, they should be confirmed as close to Jan. 20 as possible,” Biden said during an event in Wilmington, Del., last week. “There should be no vacancies at State, Defense, Treasury and Homeland Security. We have no time to lose with regard to the entire team.”

Tags Avril Haines intelligence community Joe Biden Marco Rubio Mark Warner ODNI Senate Intelligence Committee
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