(Bloomberg) — President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to serve as director of national intelligence is pledging she’ll never let politics affect decision-making in the collection and use of intelligence.
“To be effective, the DNI must never shy away from speaking truth to power — even, especially, when doing so may be inconvenient or difficult,” Avril Haines, who would be the nation’s first woman to oversee U.S. intelligence agencies, said in testimony prepared for her confirmation hearing on Tuesday. “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 also intends to tell the Senate Intelligence Committee that she wants to use intelligence to better support efforts to counter China’s “unfair, illegal, aggressive and coercive actions, as well as its human rights violations,” according to excerpts from her prepared remarks for the 10 a.m. EST hearing.
Biden said when he chose Haines for the position in November that he expected her to help restore independence to intelligence agencies that were subjected to frequent attacks by President Donald Trump, who often portrayed them as part of a “deep state” bent on undermining his presidency.
Trump chose enthusiastic Republican supporters in Congress for key intelligence posts, including Michael Pompeo, his first CIA director, and John Ratcliffe, his final director of national intelligence.
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“To lead our intelligence community, I didn’t pick a politician or a political figure, I picked a professional,” Biden said.
Haines, 51, was the Central Intelligence Agency’s deputy director from 2013 to 2015 under President Barack Obama and was his deputy national security adviser from 2015 to 2017.
Haines says in her prepared testimony that intelligence agencies should apply their capabilities to help end the global coronavirus pandemic “while also addressing the long-term challenge of future biological crises — enabling U.S. global health leadership and positioning us to detect future outbreaks before they become pandemics.”
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