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Cotton Voices Support for Courtney Elwood as CIA General Counsel

June 7, 2017

I want to add my support this morning for Courtney Elwood as the next general counsel of the CIA-not that she really needs it. In her many years of public service and private practice, Courtney's earned the esteem of her colleagues across both parties and two administrations. David Kris, an Obama appointee, calls her "a first-class lawyer." Ben Powell, a Bush appointee, calls her "one of the finest lawyers of her generation." Caroline Krass, another Obama appointee, calls her "an excellent choice." And Wan Kim, another Bush appointee, says she's "careful, brilliant, and highly accomplished." In other words, you don't need me to tell you Courtney Elwood is a first-rate attorney.

In fact, you don't need anyone to tell you that-because her accomplishments speak for themselves. She graduated from Yale Law in 1994 and went on to clerk for both Judge Mike Luttig on the Fourth Circuit and then-chief justice William Rehnquist at the Supreme Court. After spending some time in private practice, she worked for six years in the George W. Bush administration, rising from associate counsel to the president . . . to deputy counsel to the vice president . . . to deputy chief of staff and counselor to the attorney general. We're not talking about a rookie lawyer here, who's unexperienced in the ways of Washington or in the corridors of power. And her commitment to the law is unquestioned and unquestionable.

And that's just the person we need for this position. The general counsel of the CIA will help Director Pompeo navigate the many twists and turns of the thorny legal terrain as our intelligence community defends our country against a wide range of threats: terrorism; cyberwarfare; and good, old-fashioned espionage. We need people of the highest caliber serving at our national-security agencies. And there is broad agreement that Courtney Elwood fits the bill. I'm happy to support her nomination, and I want to thank her and her family for answering the call to serve once again.