EXCLUSIVE: Gina Haspel Refuses to Answer Senator Rand Paul’s Questions About CIA Involvement in Steele Dossier
Prior to her confirmation as CIA Director, Gina Haspel was facing tough questions from Senator Rand Paul, and The Gateway Pundit has exclusively reviewed her responses which completely dodged specific questions about the CIA’s involvement with the Christopher Steele dossier.
On Tuesday, Senator Paul sent a formal letter to Haspel inquiring about her involvement in surveillance of the Trump campaign. Though only the first letter has previously been published, the letters and responses are not classified.
Earlier today, I sent the @CIA a letter inquiring about Ms. Haspel’s involvement or coordination in possible surveillance of then-candidate @realDonaldTrump. I await a response. pic.twitter.com/BncHW1KJvY
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) May 15, 2018
Senator Paul’s initial letter focused on the practices of the CIA during the 2016 presidential election. They heavily imply that the senator believes that the CIA was involved with the dossier that launched the Russian collusion investigation. Though the agency may not have been the one running the operation, Haspel is an acolyte of former CIA Director John Brennan — a fierce opponent of President Trump who, according to new reports, worked claims from the unverified dossier into then-President Barack Obama’s Presidential Daily Brief.
The first question the letter asks is for clarification about under what circumstances the CIA will trail, monitor or otherwise collect information on the communications and movements of US presidential candidates.
Haspel responded that the “CIA did not surveil the US presidential candidates, CIA is the nation’s preeminent foreign intelligence agency, and is focused on foreign threats to the United States.”
Senator Paul’s second question was if Haspel, or anyone else at the CIA, was aware of any US government or non-government agency being involved in the collection or monitoring of any presidential candidates while they were travelling outside of the United States.
Meetings involving the dossier reportedly all took place in London — while Haspel was the CIA’s London Station Chief. Her role would have required that she know and sign off on all active operations.
In her response, Haspel stated simply, “the CIA did not target for collection the communications of any 2016 US presidential candidate.” The response did not answer the question about if she was aware of any government or non-government agency collecting or monitoring a campaign while abroad.
“Have you, or anyone else at the CIA, ever cooperated with any foreign intelligence services to surveil, monitor, or collect any information on candidate Trump during his travels outside the United States in the preceding five years? Specifically, was candidate Trump ever under any surveillance or of interest to the CIA during his previous visits in Europe?” Senator Paul asks.
Haspel responded that “the CIA would not cooperate with a foreign intelligence service’s effort to surveil or target for collection the communications of a US presidential candidate.”
The letter concludes by specifically asking if surveillance was conducted during Trump’s visit to Great Britain in November, 2016.
“The CIA did not conduct surveillance on, nor target for collection, the communications of then-candidate President Trump during his November 2016 visit to Great Britain,” Haspel wrote.
In response to Haspel’s denials, Senator Paul fired back another lengthy list of questions.
“In your answer to my question 3, you stated ‘the CIA would not cooperate with a foreign intelligence service’s effort to surveil or target for collection the communications of a US presidential candidate.’ I appreciate your clear statement that in the future the CIA would not work with a foreign intelligence service to surveil US presidential candidates. However, the question I asked was regarding retrospective actions, not prospective actions.”
The letter continued on to take aim squarely at the infamous dossier.
- Was the CIA aware of the efforts of Christopher Steele to collect information on Donald Trump or his campaign prior to Election Day 2016? If yes, please detail when and how.
- If the CIA was unaware of Mr. Steele’s efforts prior to the election, at what point and how did the CIA become aware of them?
- Were you personally aware of the efforts of Mr. Steele to collect information on Donald Trump or his campaign prior to Election Day 2016? If yes, please detail when and how.
- If you were unaware of Mr. Steele’s efforts prior to the election, at what point and how did you become aware of them?
- Did the CIA receive information regarding Donald Trump or his campaign from Mr. Steele? If so, when and how?
- Did the CIA have any interaction with Mr. Steele during the time he was collecting information on Donald Trump or his campaign? If so, please describe such interaction(s).
- Did the CIA receive information resulting from or regarding Mr. Steele’s investigation from any foreign intelligence service? If so, when and how?
- Did the CIA have knowledge of any other entity of the United States Government, including the FBI, interacting with Mr. Steele? If so, which entity or entities? Did the CIA receive information from Mr. Steele’s investigation from such entity or entities? Did the CIA in any way cooperate with or assist such entity or entities?
Haspel responded by saying that she should have been more clear and denied any “cooperation with a foreign intelligence service’s effort to surveil or target the communications of candidate Trump.”
“With regard to the current questions raised in your letter regarding Christopher Steele: for Question 3, I was not personally aware of Mr. Steele’s efforts when it was publicly reported in the press,” Haspel continued.
She added that, “As you know, this matter is currently under review by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (SSCI) as part of their investigation into Russian active measures in the 2016 election — CIA is supporting those efforts. Additionally, many of your question relate to matters that fall within the jurisdiction of the FBI not CIA. I would refer you to SSCI for any additional questions you may have on this issue.”
Haspel did not answer any of the other questions posed by Senator Paul, including if the CIA aware of the efforts of Christopher Steele to collect information on the Trump campaign prior to Election Day or if the CIA received information from Steele’s investigation.
Senator Paul responded with one additional question, but has not yet received a response. He asked, via email, if the CIA received any information from British intelligence about Donald Trump, his campaign, or campaign associates.”
Though Haspel has been confirmed, it does not mean that she cannot be fired if she is found to have been lying in her responses to Senator Paul. If she was working with James Comey, she could and should receive the same fate. The CIA Director serves at the pleasure of the president.