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What Gina Haspel Teaches

May 9, 2018

In Government courses that I taught from 1966 to 1980, especially in courses touching on the  force of modern ideologies, I would comment on very important life choices my students could face.  In a course on Communist Ideology I spelled out the personal consequences that citizens in Soviet dominated countries had to make.

If they wanted an education or advancement in employment, they would decide to join the Communist Party or not. If they chose not to sully their souls with compromises that Communist Party membership requires, they would not go to college and, at best, they would work in menial lines of work.

Later when in Poland from 1989-95, I discovered that many successful post-Communist Polish leaders had joined the Communist Party. Others had not, but the Polish people chose not to punish former-Party members who had not compromised Poland.

A high Party member once visited my business partner when he was imprisoned along with other Solidarity leaders. He was acknowledging that Poland came first.

In my own personal life when working in the Reagan Administration in a position requiring Senate confirmation, I found that an injustice compromising America’s commitment to justice was recommended by a top State Department official and other members of the Foreign Service. I challenged them–and was fired.

A colleague from graduate school whose knowledge of Marxism and the Soviet Union was superior to anyone I had known, joined the CIA as an analyst. He found that his fellow CIA officers were ignorant of the intentions of the Soviet Union and transferred to a position at the Department of Defense.

As government employment becomes a more common opportunity for college educated Americans, they should be aware that not everything they will be asked to do is right and just.

Today’s Senate confirmation hearing for Acting CIA Director Gina Haspel is an opportunity to learn from someone who chose to do what is not just and advanced to the highest levels of leadership at CIA.

My own disbelief that Mike Pompeo would recommend such a morally compromised person as his successor as CIA Director tells me that Mike Pompeo’s role at the U.S. Secretary of State will not be an improvement over his predecessor, Rex Tillerson.

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