Avril Haines, Joe Biden’s pick for the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), doesn’t want to label communist China as an adversary. At the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence held on Jan. 19 to confirm her position, Haines suggested that Washington should consider working with Beijing. She said that it would be better to call China a competitor, not an opponent. She was responding to a question raised by Democrat senator Mark Warner as to whether China under the CCP is an adversary of the United States.
“China is adversarial and an adversary on some issues and, in other issues, we try to cooperate with them, whether in the context of climate change or other things… And ultimately, the frame that the president-elect has identified for thinking about this is a global competitor… When it comes to espionage or the variety of areas that I’ll be focused on if I’m confirmed as the director of national intelligence, they are an adversary and that we have to work on those issues, in particular, countering their illegal, unfair, aggressive actions in these spaces,” she said in a statement.
Senators Marco Rubio (Republican) and Mark Warner (Democrat) were present at the committee. They both asserted that the CCP is the number one threat facing America. In her remarks, Haines avoided using such phrases against the Chinese regime. She did support the Trump administration’s more aggressive stance against China compared to the softer stance of the previous Obama-Biden administration.
America lacks experience in Asia
Haines believes that the American intelligence community has been so focused on certain threats like the Middle East, terrorism, and war zones, that it’s lacking experience in Asia. Republican Senator Ben Sasse gave Haines six months to develop a strategic plan on how the intelligence community should change its focus toward the CCP.
Over the past year, Haines has supported several positions that are against the interests of the U.S. and the conservative community. In November, she co-signed a letter from a left-wing J Street Group that encouraged Democrats to criticize Israel. The letter condemned Trump for trying to fulfill the “Deal of the Century,” which sought to end tensions between Israel and Palestine. She has also criticized America’s refusal to accept refugees in large numbers.
“I want to talk to you about today is why I believe that our refugee policy, rather than undermining our national security, actually increases it… Increasing the number of refugees that we resettle in the United States every year [was not only right] but good policy and a smart investment in our future,” she said in a statement at a 2016 event.
She argues that if America does not accept refugees from Islamist states, it will only help al Qaeda and ISIL recruit more extremists. She inferred that the burden of maintaining peace is on the shoulders of U.S. citizens.
Haines has a history with Palantir Technologies, working as a consultant for the firm. The company has been at the center of a controversy for providing the technology that enables U.S. immigration authorities to collect private data like DNA swabs, social media posts, and driver licenses of undocumented immigrants.
After Haines took over the role of overseeing national security considerations and foreign policy for Biden’s transition team, all references of her work with Palantir were removed from her fellowship resume that’s posted on the Brookings Institution website.