At a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Wednesday on her nomination to be the first female director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Gina Haspel said she did not anticipate President Donald Trump asking for a pledge of loyalty but told lawmakers where her loyalties lie.
“My only loyalty is to the American people and the Constitution,” Haspel said.
The question came near the end of a nearly three-hour hearing from Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI), who asked Haspel about fired FBI director James Comey’s claim that Trump asked if he would pledge loyalty to him.
Reed asked Haspel if she had ever met alone with President Trump. She explained that she met him with other members of his administration on intelligence matters, including the FBI and Vice President Mike Pence.
“There have been allegations — Mr. Comey one — that while he was alone, the president asked for a personal pledge of loyalty. If you were ever approached by the president … asked for a personal pledge of loyalty, what would you respond?
“Senator, my only loyalty is to the American people and the Constitution of the United States,” Haspel said. “I am honor-bound and will work very hard to deliver to this president and his administration the best performance and intelligence CIA can deliver.”
Reed then asked if Trump did ask her to make a pledge of loyalty would she inform the committee.
“Senator, I’ve worked very closely with this president,” Haspel said. “I don’t believe such a circumstance would ever occur.”
“CIA has been treated with enormous respect, and our expertise is valued for what we bring to the table,” Haspel said.
Reed asked again: “If it occurred would you inform the committee?”
“Senator, it’s a hypothetical,” Haspel said. “I don’t think it’s going to occur.”
“I’m very confident about that,” she added.
Many on the committee on both sides of the aisle acknowledged during the hearing that Haspel might be the most qualified nominee to head the CIA ever tapped, as Haspel has served for more than three decades at the agency, including leading it since former CIA director Mike Pompeo left to serve as the Secretary of State.
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