The Daily Beast reports: The Central Intelligence Agency is set to receive an advocate of waterboarding, sweeping surveillance powers, jailing journalists, and conflict with Iran as its next director.
A combat veteran and first-term Arkansas GOP senator, Tom Cotton has wasted little time building his twin reputations as one of the Senate’s hardest hardliners and friendliest Donald Trump allies. In one of his earliest Senate soundbites, he rebuked a Pentagon official in 2015 for the failed plan to close Guantanamo Bay, saying its detainees should “rot in hell.”
More recently, he has mocked the idea that Trump colluded with Russia.
Now, following months of whispered reporting, White House chief of staff John Kelly has developed a plan to transition Cotton over to the Central Intelligence Agency directorship—the better to oust flailing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA director and fellow Trump loyalist Mike Pompeo, according to the New York Times.
Cotton’s prospective arrival at the CIA is the latest dalliance with a restoration of torture to the spy agency’s agenda. Trump as a presidential candidate advocated “worse” torture techniques than waterboarding, only to proclaim himself swayed away from torture by the opposition of Jim Mattis, now the defense secretary. [Continue reading…]