Avril Haines: Scientist, Spy Chief, Apologist for Torture? Meet Biden’s New Director of National Intelligence

Avril Haines created the legal framework for Obama's drone policy, as well as legal cover for CIA agents involved in torture.


Joe Biden announced last week that he will nominate Avril Haines to the position of Director of National Intelligence. Haines provided legal cover for CIA agents and worked closely with Barack Obama and CIA Director John Brennan on Obama’s tenfold expansion of drone killings.

If confirmed by Congress, Haines will be the first woman to head up the coalition of 17 intelligence agencies ranging from the National Security Agency to the FBI and the State Department, all under the umbrella of the DNI.

“If she gets word of a threat coming to our shores, like another pandemic or foreign interference in our elections, she will not stop raising alarms until the right people take action. People will be able to take her word because she always calls it as she sees it,” said Joe Biden when announcing Haines’ nomination.

Haines is billed as someone who speaks “truth to power.” It’s an ironic about-face for the person who decided not to punish those who hacked into the computers of Senate staffers investigating the CIA’s torture program. Haines’ “accountability board” spared CIA personnel from having to answer for their use of torture, and her team redacted the board findings.

Yet Haines is being touted by former Obama administration officials for allegedly making the drone program “more responsible.”

“This is a pretty ominous signal about what is to come” in a Biden administration, a Senate staffer who works on national security issues told The Daily Beast. “To have [Haines] touted for her record in advancing human rights and respect for the rule of law I don’t think can be adequately squared with not only her record but her deliberate choices of advocacy.”

Whatever policy changes Haines implemented, far too often U.S. drone strikes killed civilians and turned weddings into funerals. The standards fell “far short of the standards for transparency and accountability needed to ensure that the government’s targeted killing program is lawful under domestic and international law,” according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

Haines also supported the controversial nomination of waterboarding proponent Gina Haspel, who had direct supervision over the CIA’s torture program, as first female director of the CIA under President Trump.

Articles by: Barbara Boland

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are of sole responsibility of the author(s). The Centre for Research on Globalization will not be responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in this article. The Centre of Research on Globalization grants permission to cross-post Global Research articles on community internet sites as long the source and copyright are acknowledged together with a hyperlink to the original Global Research article. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: [email protected]

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of "fair use" in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than "fair use" you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: [email protected]