Paul Waldman: Tillerson gets boot for wrong reasons

Gina Haspel

A veteran of the Central Intelligence Agency's black operations, Haspel, 61, was nominated by President Donald Trump to lead the top U.S. espionage body, after he named current CIA director Mike Pompeo to be secretary of state.

Some Democrats and rights groups expressed outrage Tuesday over President Trump's pick of Ms. Haspel, a longtime CIA Clandestine Service operative, to replace Mike Pompeo as CIA director, asserting her involvement in the agency's since shuttered waterboarding and rendition programs make her an unsuitable candidate. He will do a fantastic job! The senator was troubled by comments of Haspel reportedly relishing acts such as waterboarding.

(Tillerson later said the decision was "not a surprise" although its suddenness prompted speculation he wasn't consulted in advance.) Whether Trump is acting wisely is a matter of division and debate. But what may have done him in was a fatal disconnect over what Trump saw as Tillerson's conventional approach to policy matters.

Tillerson backs the Iran nuclear pact, the 2015 deal that eased crushing economic sanctions in exchange for allowing the nation to pursue its nuclear energy ambitions. "I think Rex will be much happier now". That same corporate experience gave Tillerson a background in the sensitivities and demands of a large and diverse workforce, and appeared to inform his clear disagreement with Trump over the white supremacist rallies Charlottesville. "I guess he thought it was okay", Mr. Trump said of Mr. Tillerson on Tuesday after firing him in an early morning tweet.

As Trump put it, Tillerson had to go because "we were not thinking the same".

"Gina, by the way, who I know very well, who I've worked with very closely, will be the first woman director of the CIA", Trump told reporters gathered outside the White House. "It is going to be to work alongside warriors, keeping Americans safe", Pompeo said at the time.

"The torture of detainees in United States custody during the last decade was one of the darkest chapters in American history", said Republican Senator John McCain, who himself was tortured as a prisoner of war in North Vietnam. He said he made the decision to meet with Kim without consulting Tillerson.

The mystery isn't why Rex Tillerson was sacked this week.

"The past U.S. -North Korea talks operated from the bottom-up".

An analysis of his political career further stated that while he had more experience with foreign relations and national security compared to Tillerson, this could make him all the more risky as the Secretary of State.

During a press conference Wednesday, Senator Paul criticized Pompeo's position on regime change in Iraq and Iran as well as his stance on torture as a former congressman. "We're always on the save wavelength", claimed Trump.

That senior State Department official told CNN that the message was "a request from a deputy assistant secretary to hold off, until the secretary had done his briefing". "We're speaking with Theresa May today", Trump said.

As secretary of state, it will fall to Pompeo to certify whether Iran is meeting its nuclear commitments under the deal, as required every 90 days under US law. "And not only did Trump not empower him, he disempowered him", Miller added. He told a parliamentary committee in Tehran on Wednesday that Tillerson's ouster was proof that Trump would pull out and promised that Iran would withdraw if the USA does.

At State, Tillerson presided over the hemorrhaging of staff, the failure to fill scores of high-ranking vacancies, and a radical reduction in future budgets.

Tillerson, who learned about his unceremonious dismissal from a Trump tweet, was considered by Jerusalem a friendly secretary of state.

Currently, there are "gaps within the structure of the Department of State" caused by high-ranking officials who have chosen to leave the department due to "the direction of Tillerson's leadership", said the expert, noting that "people were never named to fill or assume" vacant positions. Deputy Director Gina Haspel has been moved up. Several senators say they will be asking tough questions about her role in the CIA's waterboarding program that began after the September 11, 2001, attacks.

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