CIA Director Gina Haspel highlights opioid crisis, praises Auburn University alum’s sacrifice
During a speech at Auburn University on Thursday, Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director Gina Haspel highlighted the agency’s role in fighting the opioid epidemic and praised the devotion and sacrifices made by CIA officers, including an Auburn alum who was killed in the line of duty.
Haspel told the audience of 300 about Auburn University alum Johnny Micheal “Mike” Spann, a paramilitary operations officer who was the first American to die in the line of duty in Afghanistan during the nation’s response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
“Immediately before he was attacked and killed in the uprising, Mike was able to warn an agency colleague of the imminent danger, allowing that officer to get to safety,” Haspel stated. “He demonstrated the highest standards of duty and sacrifice at the forefront of our fight against terrorism. In his short time in Afghanistan, Mike’s actions played a pivotal role in our battle against the Taliban and al-Qa‘ida in the region. His story is a poignant reminder of the unwavering commitment of all our men and women serving on the front lines.”
Haspel also talked about the CIA’s role in taking “concrete steps” to assist President Donald Trump in dealing with the opioid crisis.
“No foreign challenge has had a more direct and devastating impact on American families and communities than the flow of opioids and other drugs into our country,” Haspel explained. “A scourge that has killed more Americans than any terrorist group ever has.”
“That’s why we’re taking concrete steps to increase our contributions to the president’s whole-of-government approach in tackling this epidemic,” she added.
According to Haspel, the CIA’s relations with foreign partners now are “stronger than ever.”
“We’re making great strides with our foreign partners and those ties are stronger than ever,” she said.
She added, “We’re placing a renewed emphasis on foreign language expertise and training. We want our men and women to be closely attuned to the cultures in which they operate and to speak the local language.”
The CIA director concluded her speech with a kind parting message for Auburn University.
“We at CIA could not be more grateful for your school’s distinguished history of service to our nation,” Haspel said. “And as you carry on that great tradition, I hope to see many of you again — as partners in the honorable and essential work of keeping America safe and free.”
Kyle Morris also contributes daily to Breitbart News. You can follow him on Twitter @RealKyleMorris.