President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to lead the intelligence community, Avril Haines, promised Tuesday to “speak truth to power” and keep politics out of intelligence agencies to ensure their work is trusted.
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“When it comes to intelligence, there is simply no place for politics — ever,” she told the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Haines, a former CIA deputy director and former deputy national security adviser in the Obama administration, would enter the job as director of national intelligence, or DNI, following a Trump administration that saw repeated pressure on intelligence officials to shape intelligence to the Republican president’s liking.
The committee’s lead Republican, Marco Rubio of Florida, and its ranking Democrat, Mark Warner of Virginia, both indicated they expect Haines to win confirmation.
Sen. Mark Warner says that during the four years of the Trump administration, intelligence community officials willing to speak the truth were “vilified, reassigned, fired or retaliated against.”
Her hearing kicked off a series of Senate confirmation hearings Tuesday, including those for Biden’s picks to lead the State Department, the Pentagon, and the departments of Homeland Security and Treasury. While most of those nominees are unlikely to be confirmed by the time Biden takes the oath of office at noon Wednesday, some could be in place within days.