Gina Haspel Relies on Spy Skills to Connect With Trump. He Doesn’t Always Listen.


WASHINGTON — Gina Haspel was attempting to transient President Trump early in her tenure because the C.I.A. director, however he appeared distracted. Houseflies buzzing across the Oval Office had been drawing his consideration, and ire.

On returning to her workplace, Ms. Haspel discovered an answer, in accordance to two officers acquainted with the episode, and despatched it to Mr. Trump: flypaper.

Ms. Haspel, who will give solely her second public speech as director on Thursday, has taken the reins of the nation’s premier intelligence company at a troublesome second in its 71-year historical past, underneath stress from a president usually publicly dismissive of its conclusions and a White House that views nationwide safety professionals with deep skepticism.

As she approaches her first full yr on the job, Ms. Haspel has proved an adept tactician, charming the president with small gestures and speaking to him with a mix of a hardheaded realism and appeals to emotion. A profession case officer skilled to deal with informants, she has relied on the abilities of a spy — good listening, empathy and a capability to join — to ensure that her voice is heard on the White House.

“The C.I.A. is going through tough times because we have a president who says inaccurate things about the intelligence community and his understanding of the facts is questionable,” said Nicholas Dujmovic, the director of the intelligence studies program at the Catholic University of America, who served as a C.I.A. officer for 26 years. “The message to the intelligence community is to hunker down. This will pass.”

“Her style and the way she projects herself in these kind of senior situations is disarming, without showing weakness,” said Doug Wise, a former C.I.A. officer who has worked with Ms. Haspel.

Her experience has made her cautious and fiercely protective of the C.I.A., viewing it as in need of safeguarding in a turbulent political environment, lawmakers who have worked with Ms. Haspel said.

Ms. Haspel won the trust of Mr. Pompeo, however, and has stayed loyal to him. As a result, Mr. Trump sees Ms. Haspel as an extension of Mr. Pompeo, a view that has helped protect her, current and former intelligence officials said.

But former officials have wondered how long that will last. Other senior national security officials, bureaucratic veterans like Jim Mattis and H. R. McMaster, saw their influence decline as they pushed policies at odds with Mr. Trump.

Ms. Haspel’s relationship with Mr. Trump has kept the agency at the table in the White House, said Andrea Kendall-Taylor, a former C.I.A. analyst who is now a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

“But as she continues to present facts and analysis that differ from what the president wants to hear, especially on high-profile issues like Russia and North Korea,” Ms. Kendall-Taylor warned, “her influence will wane.”



Source link Nytimes.com

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