Biden intelligence chief pledges to keep politics out of job

Biden intelligence chief pledges to keep politics out of job
© Getty Images

Avril Haines, President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenFormer Rep. Rohrabacher says he took part in Jan. 6 march to Capitol but did not storm building Saudis picked up drugs in Cairo used to kill Khashoggi: report Biden looking to build momentum for Putin meeting MORE’s nominee to serve as director of national intelligence (DNI), will pledge to keep politics out of intelligence on Tuesday during her confirmation hearing. 

She will also say she will not be afraid to give leaders intelligence they do not want to hear, signaling an effort to de-politicize intelligence after President TrumpDonald TrumpDOJ asks Supreme Court to revive Boston Marathon bomber death sentence, in break with Biden vow Biden looking to build momentum for Putin meeting DOJ tells media execs that reporters were not targets of investigations MORE has come under criticism for using intelligence for political reasons. 

“To be effective, the DNI must never shy away from speaking truth to power — even, especially, when doing so may be inconvenient or difficult,” Haines will say, according to excerpts of her opening statement obtained by The Hill.


“To safeguard the integrity of our Intelligence Community, the DNI must insist that, when it comes to intelligence, there is simply no place for politics — ever.”

Haines is appearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday morning for her confirmation hearing to be the first female director of national intelligence. 

“If I have the honor of being confirmed, I look forward to leading the Intelligence Community on behalf of the American people — to safeguarding their interests, advancing their security and prosperity, and to defending our democracy, our freedoms and our values,” the statement from Haines says.

Haines previously vowed to “work on behalf of the American people,” hammering in her promise to “speak truth to power” during comments to the media following her nomination last year. 

The DNI nominee on Tuesday will also zero in on China, pledging to “provide the necessary intelligence to support long-term bipartisan efforts to out-compete China” and also support “more immediate efforts to counter Beijing’s unfair, illegal, aggressive and coercive actions, as well as its human rights violations, whenever we can.”


Haines is also expected to address concerns around the ability of the DNI to address the COVID-19 pandemic and emphasize the need to address new and emerging technological challenges.

“Here at home, we must strengthen our cybersecurity, safeguard our critical infrastructure, and turn the ongoing technological revolution from a threat to an advantage by integrating new technologies to improve the capacity and superiority of our intelligence into the future,” Haines will say. 

Haines served in various national security positions in the Obama administration, including deputy CIA director and White House deputy national security adviser. She also served in the State Department legal adviser’s office during the George W. Bush administration, during which time she was detailed to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee when Biden, then a senator from Delaware, was the chairman of the committee.

Haines would replace John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeFive things to know about the new spotlight on UFOs Extraordinary explanations for UFOs look increasingly plausible Sunday shows preview: US hails Israel-Hamas cease-fire; 'vast differences' remain between Biden, GOP on infrastructure MORE, a former GOP congressman and political ally of Trump who was installed as the director of national intelligence last year. 

Haines is one of a handful of Biden nominees who are sitting for confirmation hearings on Tuesday, one day before Biden will be sworn in as the 46th president of the United States. Biden’s team has been pressing the Senate to move quickly on confirming his nominees, particularly those for national security positions, so that the new president has a partial team in place when he takes office.