I do know Haines. Once I was a staffer at the White Home Nationwide Safety Council throughout President Barack Obama’s administration, she and I had been typically two of the final individuals left on the White Home compound every night time. As the Nationwide Safety Council’s prime lawyer, Haines labored seemingly nonstop to advise the Nationwide Safety Adviser and the President on authorized concerns related to nationwide safety selections. Working beside her for a number of years, I noticed the mind, focus, management and dedication she delivered to nationwide safety policymaking. Her unbelievable background — together with her love of science, flying planes and brown belt in judo — could learn like a film script, nevertheless it’s actual.

Later, when she served as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Counsel to the President for Nationwide Safety Adviser and then as the Deputy Director of the CIA, so lots of her former colleagues, together with many people ladies, knew the skillset she delivered to bear. After serving as the first feminine Deputy Director of the CIA, she is the first ever feminine nominee for the DNI job. However it’s not solely her gender that makes her nomination exceptional. It is what, if confirmed, she may do in her new function.

Underneath Trump, the DNI has grow to be grossly politicized. Richard Grenell, the former ambassador to Germany who served a stint as appearing director at DNI this yr, was a right-wing political power earlier than, throughout and after his time. Present DNI John Ratcliffe has painted himself into the same politicized field — seemingly serving extra as a political surrogate for the Trump administration than the chief of an built-in and apolitical intelligence group. Their actions are a shame to the function of the DNI, which rests on offering apolitical, goal and unbiased intelligence to their prospects.
Haines couldn’t be any extra completely different. Amongst her different accomplishments, she’s a talented lawyer, a physicist and has been described by a colleague as somebody who “could fairly actually be the nicest individual any of us have ever met.” I can affirm that kindness and her overwhelming drive to at all times get the greatest data.
In the time that I labored along with her, I by no means as soon as heard her point out politics or occasion or something of that kind. As a substitute she confirmed up ready, with copious notes, at every and each assembly. She needed to assist inform coverage selections, not play politics or attempt to get herself into the public highlight. I by no means as soon as heard her inform a policymaker what she thought they needed to listen to — additional confirming what she mentioned in her remarks on Tuesday, that she “by no means shied away from talking reality to energy.” That is why the intelligence group wants her greater than ever.

Haines additionally excels at multitasking, and that is going to be a great factor as quickly as she is (hopefully) confirmed by the Senate. Not solely will she need to do her statutorily outlined duties, she will concurrently have to revive the soul of our intelligence group whereas coping with a extremely complicated risk panorama. From Covid-19 associated intelligence points to the rising risk of misinformation to shifting geopolitics, there will be no scarcity of intelligence points to research and gather on.

Total, Biden’s cupboard nominations up to now present how severe he’s about restoring the nationwide safety equipment to its simplest kind, freed from politics and targeted on doing what’s in the greatest pursuits of our nationwide safety. Haines will be main a part of that course of — and not solely due to her longstanding relationships with key intelligence prospects in the new administration, together with Biden, Secretary of State nominee Antony Blinken, Nationwide Safety Adviser nominee Jake Sullivan and others.
The intelligence group is huge — comprised of 17 organizations — and the mission of the Workplace of the Director of Nationwide Intelligence (ODNI) is to “lead and assist IC integration; delivering insights, driving capabilities, and investing in the future.” That is why the DNI is, statutorily, alleged to have intensive nationwide safety expertise — one thing Ratcliffe sorely lacks. Haines, on the different hand, has intensive nationwide safety expertise in the government department, having served in the White Home, at the CIA and at the State Division earlier on in her profession. As such, she understands the function of intelligence in coverage making and has deep experience with regards to working with members of the intelligence group.
Plus, in the wake of Trump’s undermining of the intelligence group, Haines’ observe report of apolitical public service will assist her restore the soul of the intelligence group which, at its core, is meant to talk reality to energy. Rebuilding morale and recruiting and retaining prime expertise will undoubtedly be a magnet for our new DNI as Trump pushed out profession officers and insulted intelligence evaluation. Primarily based on her popularity, management capabilities, intelligence and character, Haines is as much as that job.
The ODNI’s relationship with Congress has additionally been below severe pressure these final 4 years. With intelligence officers canceling election safety briefings and seemingly censoring data that the Trump discovered politically inconvenient, Haines will need to restore the relationship with members of Congress, no matter their political affiliation. Haines labored on the Hill as deputy chief counsel to the Senate Overseas Relations Committee when Biden was chairman, and she has a stable popularity with Congress from her years of presidency service.
Haines can also be a revered determine on the world stage. Trump’s politically motivated selective declassifications of intelligence and cavalier angle with labeled data needed to have given our intelligence companions pause as their very own sources and strategies might be compromised. Our allies will not need to be involved about the DNI aiding and abetting the President’s political errands as a result of that is not how Biden nor how Haines function. And that’s excellent news, not only for nationwide safety, however for the world at massive.