01:15 - Source: CNN
Ex-CIA chief: Russia threat is obvious
Washington CNN —  

The White House issued a glowing press release on Gina Haspel Wednesday, touting President Donald Trump’s pick to become the next director of the CIA by highlighting her “decades of service,” “expertise and understanding” and “widespread support.”

But the release cited comments from former CIA Director John Brennan and former director of National Intelligence James Clapper – both of whom worked in the Obama administration. And both of whom Trump has referred to as the “biggest liars and leakers in Washington.”

Haspel’s nomination is facing opposition from some lawmakers who have questioned her past oversight of a CIA “black site” in Thailand. She has also distanced herself from the destruction of CIA tapings of harsh interrogations, saying she didn’t order the tapes to be destroyed.

The release was meant to quell some of those fears and muster support for Haspel. But the White House raised eyebrows when it quoted Brennan saying that Haspel “has the experience – the breadth and depth – on intelligence issues” and Clapper saying he “think(s) the world of Gina; she is capable, smart, very experienced, well respected by the Agency rank and file, and a great person.”

In February, Trump tweeted that he thought Brennan and Clapper – along with former FBI director James Comey, Democratic Sen. Mark Warner and Democrat Rep. Adam Schiff – were the “biggest liars and leakers in Washington.”

The White House did not respond to a request for comment on whether Trump still considers Brennan and Clapper to be “liars and leakers.”

“Little Adam Schiff, who is desperate to run for higher office, is one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington, right up there with Comey, Warner, Brennan and Clapper! Adam leaves closed committee hearings to illegally leak confidential information. Must be stopped!” Trump had tweeted.

Brennan has been a vocal Trump critic on Twitter, recently writing that his “hypocrisy knows no bounds” after Trump tweeted that Clapper was “a lying machine.”

“Jim Clapper is a man of integrity, honesty, ethics, & morality,” Brennan wrote. “You are not. Jim Clapper served his country for over a half century, including in Vietnam. You did not. By your words & behavior, you diminish the Office of the Presidency.”