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Why Is McCain Speaking Out Against Haspel Confirmation After Voting For Brennan’s?

Why Is McCain Speaking Out Against Haspel Confirmation After Voting For Brennan’s?

“Her role in overseeing the use of torture is disturbing & her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying”

As we’ve been covering here at LI, Gina Haspel is President Trump’s pick to head the CIA.  She has been blasted for her role in overseeing then-legal and -authorized enhanced interrogation techniques against Islamist terrorists.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has issued a statement in which he urges the Senate not to confirm Haspel due to her role in enhanced interrogation.  The problem with this, however, is that he voted to confirm John Brennan to the CIA’s top spot, knowing full-well Brennan’s role in enhanced interrogation.

Here is McCain’s official Senate press release:

“Today, Gina Haspel testified before the Senate and to the country about her qualifications to lead the CIA. This occasion provided an opportunity to provide details about her experience in the CIA, explain her involvement in the so-called enhanced interrogation program during the Bush Administration, and account for the mistakes the country made in torturing detainees held in U.S. custody after the September 11th attacks. Unfortunately, the testimony the American people heard from Ms. Haspel today failed to address these concerns.

“Like many Americans, I understand the urgency that drove the decision to resort to so-called enhanced interrogation methods after our country was attacked. I know that those who used enhanced interrogation methods and those who approved them wanted to protect Americans from harm. I appreciate their dilemma and the strain of their duty. But as I have argued many times, the methods we employ to keep our nation safe must be as right and just as the values we aspire to live up to and promote in the world.

“I believe Gina Haspel is a patriot who loves our country and has devoted her professional life to its service and defense. However, Ms. Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying. I believe the Senate should exercise its duty of advice and consent and reject this nomination.”

Oddly, McCain apparently did not find “disturbing” Brennan’s role in “the use of torture.”

As you may recall, McCain was among the handful of Republicans who voted to confirm Brennan as CIA director back in 2013.  He must have been aware that in 2008, Brennan removed his name from the running for this same position during the first Obama administration because of his involvement with rendition and “torture.”

In fact, the Atlantic noted in 2013 that Brennan was involved in far more than supposed “torture”: “If only torture were the only reason to be wary of Brennan. At The New Yorker, Amy Davidson focuses on Brennan’s role in Obama’s secretive program of extrajudicial assassinations and explains that the way the president praises his top counterterrorism adviser is deeply misleading.”

CNN reported in 2014, after Brennan’s confirmation (for which McCain voted):

CIA Director John Brennan on Thursday defended harsh interrogation techniques as providing “useful” information to authorities, including in the raid that led to the death of Osama bin Laden. But he said it is “unknowable” what information could specifically be attributed to those techniques.

“It is our considered view that the detainees who were subjected to enhanced interrogation techniques provided information that was useful and was used in the ultimate operation to go against Bin Laden,” Brennan said.

. . . . He said detainees who faced “enhanced interrogation techniques” did provide some information that provided useful — as well as other information that didn’t. He said whether those interrogations had anything to do with that information is “unknowable.”

“Let me be clear: We have not concluded that it was the EITs within that program that allowed us to obtain useful information from the detainees subjected to them,” he said.

Brennan, then far above Haspel in the CIA’s pecking order, is somehow exempt from McCain’s indictment, yet he uses the enhanced interrogation methods Brennan oversaw and defended as a reason for not confirming Haspel?  How does that work exactly?

Apparently, McCain is not happy that Haspel hasn’t jumped through the appropriate hoops regarding “torture’s immorality.”

What doesn’t add up, however, is that Brennan was still not whole-heartedly “acknowledging torture’s immorality” even after his confirmation. After all, Brennan repeatedly and publicly defended the enhanced interrogation techniques employed by the agency even after he ascended to CIA Director.

In fact, the year after his confirmation as CIA Director, Brennan defended the “torture” of radical Islamists detained at various facilities.  In 2013, the Atlantic asked of his nomination as CIA Director, “Does It Matter if John Brennan Was Complicit in Illegal Torture?”.  McCain’s vote to confirm Brennan was a resounding “nay.”

The CIA’s involvement the first time around included the submission of proposed enhanced interrogation techniques.  These were then reviewed by a phalanx of executive branch lawyers before being approved and deployed.

Even if, as CIA Director, Haspel wanted to employ these now-banned interrogation techniques, she could not do so without running afoul of existing law.  McCain knows this, given his role in passing that bill in the first place.

After enduring political grandstanding by Democrat presidential hopeful Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), Haspel assured the Senate that she had no intention of unilaterally reinstating such programs—a power she would not possess even as CIA Director.

The Hill reports:

Haspel’s ties to the interrogation program led to a contentious confirmation hearing on Wednesday in which Senate Democrats drilled down on her views on the subject. She did not answer when Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) repeatedly asked if Haspel believes past interrogation techniques were “immoral.”

However, she pledged that she would not bring back the program.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said Wednesday that he will support Haspel’s nomination. Several other GOP senators remain on the fence.

McCain’s opposition to Haspel’s nomination marked the latest instance in which the Arizona senator broke with Trump.

With this final observation, the Hill, I think, hits the nail on the head.  McCain has reportedly stated that he does not want President Trump even to attend his funeral, while reportedly requesting former presidents #NeverTrump Bush (43) and #Resistance Obama to eulogize him at his eventual funeral.

Given his support for Brennan, it’s hard to see McCain’s statement against Haspel’s confirmation as moral outrage (unless it developed in the few years since he voted for Brennan as CIA Director).  Sadly, McCain seems to be embracing political and personal pettiness rooted in his intense dislike of our current and duly-elected president.  Haspel is just collateral damage.


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“To the last, I grapple with thee; From Hell’s heart, I stab at thee; For hate’s sake, I spit my last breath at thee” is a bad look, Senator, and a worse epitaph.

Thank you for your service. It’s time to leave the stage with what little dignity remains.

    Pretty much this, yeah.

    Many people try to make amends at the end. McCain lashes out at Trump, Palin and now Haspel. Sad.

    :::::He catches fire, jumps off the pyre and dashes up the corridor, he sprints all the way along the forecourt and leaps from the end of the parapet — a ball of flames::::

    GANDALF: So passes Denethor, son of Ecthelion.

    “It’s time to leave the stage with what little dignity remains….”

    That ship sailed a long time ago. A very long time ago.

    Miss Lindsay will be lonely.

    I respect his military service but not his political career.

    Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
    The wretch, concentred all in self,
    Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
    And, doubly dying, shall go down
    To the vile dust from whence he sprung,
    Unwept, unhonored, and unsung.

    I respect his military service but not his political career.

    Despite those titles, power, and pelf,
    The wretch, concentred all in self,
    Living, shall forfeit fair renown,
    And, doubly dying, shall go down
    To the vile dust from whence he sprung,
    Unwept, unhonored, and unsung.

He’s a closet lib so that means he has a mental disorder, and brain cancer. Thats why virtually nothing he is saying makes sense.

    Tom Servo in reply to stl. | May 10, 2018 at 6:18 pm

    I would say one possibility is that Cindy and the staffers who write up the missives to the outside world for the corpsicle they’ve got on ice forgot that he voted for Brennan.

    Arminius in reply to stl. | May 10, 2018 at 7:21 pm

    There has never been anything closeted about McCain. One quibble. You left out a@@hole.

    Sanddog in reply to stl. | May 10, 2018 at 10:18 pm

    I wouldn’t put any stock in any statements he’s supposedly made in the last few months. He’s been completely shielded from the public and there’s a good chance his “spokespersons” are the ones speaking on his behalf…. without fully informed consent from him. He should have resigned back in December.

Ol’maverick has a long history of not thinking well of women, particularly powerful women.

John McCain has been a nuisance as a Senator and he will be that until he is gone.

McCain and Carrie should get married and live happily ever after in Iran. Both are more fans of our enemies then they are of us.

Bitter and vindictive is McCain’s signature move, and ultimately this is how he will be remembered.

Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying.

This is where his logic goes down the toilet. CIA doesn’t define “morality”—and I doubt that anyone would want it to do so.

If the government insists on “moral” behavior by CIA or any other agency, government must define it. Such definitions are called “laws”. Over to you, Congress—ball’s in your court. You can’t whine when the players follow game rules you never defined.

Of course they don’t want to define it. It looks ugly when stated in black & white, so they’d much prefer to let somebody else take the heat for it. And it is harder than it looks. As Sir Arthur “Bomber” Harris famously said in an interview with Gwen Dyer, “Tell me of one operation of war which is moral … Striking a bayonet into a man’s belly, is that moral?” Obviously Congress wouldn’t want to be responsible for an answer. Fortunately Congress doesn’t really run the country.

I for one am glad that the Honorable Gentleman from Arazona chose this “Hill to Die on” It will forever cement his political hypocrisy for all to see. His true colors of standing in the way of a lady that has spent her whole life preparing for this job. To a have Wallace’esk mysogisist stand in her way is disgusting. This same man now regrets ever picking a mere woman as a running mate.

His hatred has deranged him.

Why? Because he’s a think skinned little fuck. The sooner he dies the better.

McCain is a dim witted former pilot with no sense.

One more instance of flipping the voters the middle finger that will decrease those who mourn his death.

Hey fake “war hero”, is it moral to eavesdrop on foreigners?

Is it moral to murder foreigners? Even with a declaration if war? That just makes it legal, not moral.

Or do you have a moral duty to prevent a city of 6 million lives from being obliterated by any means possible?

You don’t want to stain your soul with blood, believe me, I get that – it never washes out. But stop hiding your cowardice behind some righteous post of “Muh Principles”. It borders on blasphemy.

He’s a sexist.

Pose not post.

While I’m on this – is it moral to allow others to refer to you as a “war hero” in your presence without correcting them?

Or do you just grin as they hand you Stolen Valor?

In my timeline, McCain had the sense to go for cremation. See, he still had enough shame to recognize that those he betrayed would never let him rest in peace.

Sammy Finkelman | May 10, 2018 at 7:02 pm

Why Is McCain Speaking Out Against Haspel Confirmation After Voting For Brennan’s?

A. There was anot a concerted campaign against the cofnfrmation of John Brennan, and Brennan wasn’ta sked at his confirmation hearings whether, putting aside questions of legality, he considered what they had done to be immoral

Second answer: Voting aaginst Brennan would not have been bipartisan, but voting against Haspel is.

    Simpler than that:
    A) Voting against Brennan would not have stabbed any (R) in the back.
    B) Brennan’s vote wound up +14 in his favor, so voting against him would not have done anything but look petty. With this one, his vote will likely count, so he can peddle it any way he wants.

“Why Is McCain Speaking Out Against Haspel Confirmation After Voting For Brennan’s?”

Because he’s an a@@hole?

John McCain does not get his own information. As a result of being tortured in Vietnam, he cannot raise his arms or use his hands to work a typewriter or iPhone. Something as simple as hopping over to Legal Insurrection to see what the Professor has to say is beyond him.

Although it is possible to control a computer by voice, it’s a recent development, and I’ve never heard that he does that. So, his information comes from what other people give him.

Then there is the cancer, and the drugs to treat it.

I am sorry to see him writing such an ungracious epitaph for himself, but I cannot get real exercised over it. What he says now is not important.

    Shane in reply to Valerie. | May 10, 2018 at 8:15 pm

    Sadly I have watched this guy for a quite a while. I can see what you are saying about his current state of affairs, but as I saw with my mother, what she was become more … for lack of a better word … concentrated when she was dying. This is all consistent for John McCain’s life.

He figured he got tortured , so it is ok to torture us

“De mortuis nihil nisi bonum” only kicks in after you are dead. They must not have taught the classics at the USNA.

inspectorudy | May 10, 2018 at 7:36 pm

McCain was the bottom of his Naval Academy class. He was an average pilot with delusions of grandeur. He became a Senator because of his family name and his war POW status. He has been a maverick his whole political life. He decided to fight against things that most of his party wanted. Now he has equated his being tortured for no other reason than his captors were inhuman trash, with a nation under attack after 9/11. The enhanced interrogation used on Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was for a purpose which was to stop or prevent any future attacks on our citizens. It is typical of McCain that he could not see any difference between the two. May his passing be without pain but quick.

    an unorthodox or independent-minded person.

    McCain is no “maverick.” He’s a useful idiot, bought-off by flattery from the democrat media publicity, and rather cheaply.

judgeroybean | May 10, 2018 at 8:04 pm

Senator McCain, it’s time for you to serve your country honorably. Drop dead.

practicalconservative | May 10, 2018 at 8:09 pm

I wonder if McCain will have the courage to do what Arlen Spector did and finally come out of the closet and put that sacred (D) after his name before he meets the Almighty.

Brennan was okay with Brennan because Brennan voted for the Communist Party in 1980.

John McCain – Dead Man Talking!

McCain was okay with Brennan ….

Watching Trump Elkhart speech. Sorry.

John McCain is and always has been a hypocritical thin-skinned unthinking illogical arrogant prick. I’ll let CDR Salamander set the table. McCain’s opposition to Bob Work, Obama’s nominee for deputy secretary of defense (and a good choice btw) was ludicrous and revealing of McCain’s complete lack of character.

First the Salamander quotes another author:

“How many folks involved in the Littoral Combat Ship program from 2005 – 2008 have been nominated and approved by Senator McCain to become a Flag Officer? The only person in this conversation who was legitimately in a position to hold people accountable for failures in the LCS program was Senator John McCain. The only person in this conversation whose record reflects a positive contribution to the Littoral Combat Ship program problems is Bob Work.

…Senator John McCain today is attempting to publicly slap Bob Work with the LCS program, which makes no sense because every data point suggests Bob Work was part of a team that took a really bad LCS program suffering from enormous cost problems, and clearly turned it around and got it back on track. If the Senator will publicly attack people who do a good job, and the same Senator voted affirmative for promotions to Navy officers who were directly involved in the problems of LCS, the Senator is hardly qualified to pass on judgment regarding qualifications, because the Senator is the one demonstrating clear lack of good judgment.”

Then concludes:

“…If he is kept out of this post as a result of McCain’s obtuse behavior, then we have yet another black mark on the record of a man whose record deserves better; not Bob Work, but John McCain.”

McCain’s ‘tude toward Bob Work, a retired Marine Colonel and a good man, is illustrative of who and what McCain is, and it’s nothing good. The LCS program began in 2003 under Bush. Work was under secretary of the Navy from 2009-2013. Before he took the job the LCS had long suffered budget overruns, requirements creep, and missed deadlines. For McCain to blame Work for that is insane.

I’ll take it a step further. McCain became a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee in 1987 and the chair in 2015. I joined the Navy in 1988. Everyone knew the Navy’s procurement system was broken. I can’t think of a major weapons system program that wasn’t plagued by budget overruns, requirements creep, and late deliveries. Can any of you name one major weapons system in any of the services that was delivered on time and within budget?

McCain presided over all these f*** ups. He’s the one constant element in all these f*** ups. Bob Work improved the LCS program. He didn’t fix it entirely, so the LCS is not known in the Navy by its official title of “Littoral Combat Ship” but rather “Little Crappy Ship.”

All this shows if that a single good, hardworking professional leading a team of hard working focused professionals can’t even fix one of John McCain’s f*** ups, let alone all of them. John McCain’s tenure on the Senate Armed Services Committee can best be described as an arsonist starting dumpster fires and then periodically vomiting gasoline on them. He was one of the very few individuals who could have fixed the procurement system, but instead he chose to make it worse at every turn.

I hate having to defend McCain on this one point. He didn’t get all his medals as a POW. He was awarded an Air Medal for airmanship and courage he displayed on his final mission that led to his imprisonment. Despite the fact that his plane was mortally wounded by AAA he pressed the attack and put bombs on target. So kudos for that. He is a legitimate hero. I wish to God he had just disappeared into private life after his release, because now I can’t think of one single insult and disparaging term that he doesn’t deserve.

I’m going to contact my Senators and let them know that I support Haspell. Because McCain is against her. Why let McCain f*** this up too.

“Sadly, McCain seems to be embracing political and personal pettiness rooted in his intense dislike of our current and duly-elected president. ”

Fuzzy, are you actually surprised by this? Given what you see in the LI comment section?

NeverTrump as mental disorder lives here.

McCain is petty and thin-skinned, because he is insecure: he knows he’s basically a weak, worthless follower.

Same for the obamas and klinton.

Low-lifes are the most angry of jackasses.

McCain is a petty man, sort of the Hillary syndrome. He has not been very honorable, so this is no surprise. He isn’t in the Senate, so he won’t be voting, so he feels somehow honor bound to tell others how to vote. Isn’t that big of him.

I believe his mind was twisted in the Hanoi Hilton, his actions against POW/MIA is despicable, his actions against his party just to contrary and to show his petty power is despicable.

The brain cancer has not improved his mind either, though I suspect that his mind has always been twisted. He is a self serving wretch and I will not miss him, nor honor him in any way, once he is gone.

I still want to know why Brennan supports her, and whether we should worry about that. The CIA, after all, has been known for decades as a Republican-free zone, and she comes from the ranks.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Milhouse. | May 11, 2018 at 9:05 am

    It might be because Brennan has calculated who the second choice would be if Haspel is denied and found that choice worse, in his opinion. A lesser evil thing.

and don’t forget McCains forsaking of MIAs in Vietnam. He will be remembered as disloyal, bitter, vindictive, self serving, deceitful, greedy, (have I forgotten anything?)

I come to bury Caesar McCainus, not to praise him …

Henry Hawkins | May 11, 2018 at 9:08 am

McCain has been a closet centrist Democrat his entire career. He chose the GOP to get elected and stay elected in Arizona.

McCain is still feeling guilty about the information he gave up under torture in Hanoi.

Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?

why do people think he is a hero?
videos show him in shoulder casts from improper ejection well before the “torture” happened, same videos show him acting like a traitor.
remember keating 5?
remember how he (in senate) blocked all things related to finding pow and records and insulted anyone who wanted to investigate pow issues?
I remember.
this asshole has always been a traitor.
I will thank god the day he dies and I hope his final days are filled with lots of pain.
fk him.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to dmacleo. | May 11, 2018 at 4:26 pm

    “why do people think he is a hero?”

    Well, I can speak for myself, but I considered him a hero for two reasons. One, because during the fire aboard the USS Forrestal, he took shrapnel in the legs and chest from a bomb exploded by the fire while trying to help another pilot out of his burning jet. Two, because when the North Vietnamese learned his father was an admiral in the US Navy an commander of all US forces in Viet Nam, they offered McCain early release and repatriation as a propaganda ploy, and to drive down prisoner morale for those who’d been imprisoned longer than McCain. McCain refused, in support of his fellow prisoners. Both actions seem heroic to me.

    However, McCain’s actions ever since in the political arena have slowly eroded his well-earned early ID as a war hero. I think he’s played that card too many times. Personally, I feel his political antics and betrayals now override his hero history.

    Arminius in reply to dmacleo. | May 12, 2018 at 2:26 am

    I brain farted in an earlier comment and said McCain had been awarded an Air Medal in Vietnam. He was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross for courage and airmanship in Vietnam. The DFC is a much higher award than an Air Medal, ranking just below the Legion of Merit in order of precedence.

    Some people are under the misconception McCain was awarded all his medals for being a POW. Not true. The DFC was for what he did in the air. He’s a legitimate hero.

    And I still despise the man.

      ZZMike in reply to Arminius. | May 12, 2018 at 8:54 pm

      And the Silver Star, and the …. One can be a hero in the 60s-70s and a jerk in the 2000s.

      When he’s gone, let’s remember him for the man he was in the 60s – 70s. Somebody once said, “The evil that men do lives after them;
      The good is oft interrèd with their bones.” It doesn’t always have to be that way.

Because McStain is a RINO douchebag.

It’s obvious: Trump.

clayusmcret | May 12, 2018 at 7:03 am

“Why Is McCain Speaking Out Against Haspel Confirmation After Voting For Brennan’s?”

Because he’s a spiteful, hateful old ahole who intends for his last breaths to be as nevertrump as possible.