from Conservative Review:
Shadowy pro-Russia advocacy group behind attacks on CIA’s Haspel
It all started with a mysterious trip to Moscow.
A shadowy organization that is overtly sympathetic to the Russian government — and which was originally formed by anti-war activists — has emerged as one of the foremost critics of CIA director nominee Gina Haspel.
Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS) — a group made up of self-proclaimed whistleblowers, conspiracy theorists, and disgruntled former government employees — released a statement earlier this week opposing Haspel on the grounds that she is alleged to have had a major role in the CIA’s enhanced interrogation program.
“With respect, we veteran intelligence officers from CIA and other agencies urge you to withdraw the nomination of Gina Haspel for CIA director. From what is already known of her leading role in CIA torture 16 years ago, she has disqualified herself,” VIPS wrote in a memorandum addressed to President Trump.
An open letter to Donald Trump from Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity re Gina Haspel: Trump Should Withdraw Haspel Nomination, Intel Vets Say https://t.co/pW2T6HEQN3
— John Kiriakou (@JohnKiriakou) March 26, 2018
The most notable promoters of the group’s press release this week have been Sputnik and RT, which are the two most prominent Kremlin-controlled English-language media enterprises. Sputnik interviewed two of the signatories, while several of the group’s members are frequent RT contributors.
VIPS does not have a website, but it does produce its membership roster each time the outfit spins out a new memorandum.
Originally founded to oppose the invasion of Iraq, VIPS has transformed into a network of activists that appear solely focused on advancing Russia’s interests.
The turn toward Russia coincided with a trip three VIPS officials made to Moscow in 2013, when they received unprecedented access to the infamous Edward Snowden, who lives in Russia under the protection of the Kremlin. Prior to their visit, neither Russians themselves nor American foreigners had been able to get even a semblance of access to Snowden, given the fact that he was a wanted man for betraying the United States and stealing its secrets. Jesselyn Radack, who accompanied the three on the trip, said that they were “greatly honored” and that the Russians greeted them with “open arms.” In subsequent interviews, members of the group did not reveal who paid for the trip or whether Moscow had particular conditions on the agreement for access to Snowden.