Latest in Appointments, Confirmations & Budgets

Politics & National Security

The Difference a Hearing Makes: Public Awareness of and Confidence in Gina Haspel Increased After Her Senate Testimony

The fight over Gina Haspel’s nomination to be director of the CIA was one of the more politically controversial that has emerged in recent months. It raised complex questions of leadership and accountability and reopened discussion over this country’s use of harsh interrogation techniques that many have characterized as torture.

Executive Power

The Federal Vacancies Reform Act and the VA: A Study in Uncertainty and Incompetence

One of the obscure federal statutes that has come to prominence in the Trump administration is the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (FVRA), a statute designed to increase the president’s flexibility with respect to filling vacancies within the executive branch on a temporary basis.

Appointments, Confirmations & Budgets

Why We Don’t Support Gina Haspel for CIA Director: A Response to Benjamin Wittes

In his Tuesday post in support of Gina Haspel’s nomination to be director of the CIA, Benjamin Wittes wrote about “the insulation that Haspel stands to provide for the agency from a president hostile to the task of intelligence gathering and analysis.” For this and other reasons, Wittes argued, Haspel should be confirmed—even though President Trump has linked her nomination to his “enthusiasm for torture.” He also wrote that “barring revelations about her role” in running a Thailand “black site” at which d

Appointments, Confirmations & Budgets

Livestream: CIA Director Nominee Gina Haspel Testifies Before Senate Intelligence Committee

Gina Haspel, the deputy director of the CIA and President Trump’s nominee to head the agency, will testify before the Senate intelligence commitee Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. Eastern on her nomination.

Haspel's prepared testimony and responses to congressional questions are available here:

Politics & National Security

The John Bolton I Knew

Most of the commentary about John Bolton's appointment as national security adviser has focused on his extreme policy views, especially with regard to military strikes against North Korea and Iran. I want instead to offer here a few firsthand thoughts about his formidable skills—which are what make him so dangerous. The Trump White House is something of a clown show, but Bolton is no clown.

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