We need a spy, not a politician

To judge by her comments moments after she was sworn in as the new CIA director, Gina Haspel has her priorities in order.

Haspel, a 33-year veteran of the intelligence agency, revealed some of her plans on Monday. She wants to improve CIA personnel proficiency in foreign languages, strengthen the agency’s links with other intelligence operations here and abroad, and focus on strategic threats to the United States. She also wants to deploy more agents in the field.

Notice anything? You are correct: Haspel said nothing about using technology to gather intelligence. She is well aware electronic eavesdropping is primarily the province of the National Security Agency. She also understands too much reliance on technology and not enough on “human assets,” as they are called, is a mistake.

To gain Senate confirmation in her post, Haspel had to endure what she referred to as “very negative politics.” So clearly, she is capable of dealing with the bureaucratic swamp that lies inside the Beltway.

But she rose up through the ranks at the CIA, becoming the first operations officer veteran in 50 years to be picked to head the agency. Good, because to put it bluntly, what Americans need at the CIA is a spy — not another politician.