Only in America could the promotion of the best prepared and most experienced leader in the history of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) be questioned because legal interrogation techniques involving torture happened on her watch.

Sadly, but not surprisingly, one of Gina Haspel’s most vocal opponents in the confirmation process is fellow Kentuckian Rand Paul.

We won’t attempt to explain that situation except to note that Senator Paul is perhaps the most accomplished grandstander in the Congress.

He is the same senator who staunchly and briefly opposed Mike Pompeo’s nomination for secretary of state but then flip-flopped after a visit to the White House.

Perhaps Paul and the others challenging her nomination should be reminded that when the CIA sent her to Thailand years ago to oversee a super-secure detention facility housing terrorists, the job description didn’t require the credentials of a Sunday School teacher or a social worker.

It called for a tough, skilled intelligence

agent and that’s what Haspel has become during her lengthy and distinguished CIA service in both the Cold War and the Global War on Terror.

Yes, torture was used at her prison but it was legally-authorized at the time and she knows full well that those techniques are outlawed today.

U. S. Sen. Mitch McConnell noted in a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday that Haspel’s 33 years in the CIA includes “firsthand experience gathering foreign intelligence in an era of great-power competition and hard-won expertise in counterterrorism operations and analysis.”

What better preparation is needed for the challenges our nation faces around the world?

Numerous experienced intelligence operatives agree that Haspel would be the best prepared CIA director in the agency’s 70-year history.

In our opinion, this native of Ashland is exactly the right person to make sure our country has the valuable foreign intelligence needed to keep national leaders well informed so that they can properly protect the American people.

And the fact that she’s a proud Kentuckian is a bonus for all of us.

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