President Trump's decision to send CIA Director Gina Haspel to Turkey should not come as a surprise. It simply reflects a best use of Haspel's experience and professional skills to understand Turkey's investigation into the Saudi government's murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

From the Trump administration's perspective, it's not enough simply to gather intelligence on what the Saudis did and what the Turks say the Saudis did. The latter concern is particularly important in the context of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's less-than-wholly-objective interests regarding the Khashoggi incident. But Haspel is best placed to address these concerns.

First off, Haspel has the personal experience. Stationed in Turkey at least twice during her earlier career with the CIA, Haspel speaks Turkish and has a respectful relationship with Turkey's capable primary intelligence service, the MiT. And personal relationships matter greatly in intelligence matters. Specifically, though, the MiT's physical access to the Saudi consulate via various bugging operations almost certainly has given Turkey boutique intelligence material on Khashoggi. Getting access to whatever the Turkish know is crucial for the U.S.

Still, It's important to note that the MiT and U.S. intelligence community have experienced increasing tensions in recent years over America's support for various Kurdish militias that the Turkish government regards as terrorists. The U.S. intelligence community has also been alarmed by Turkey's increasing cooperation with Russian services and by its tolerance for ultra-nationalist anti-American groups on Turkish soil. That brings us back to Haspel. Highly respected by foreign intelligence services, Haspel gives the U.S. the best chance of navigating this political minefield and getting to the truth of what happened to Khashoggi. Or at least close to the truth.

The extension here is that Haspel will have asked the Turks about how they intend to handle the aftermath of Khashoggi's murder. That matters greatly in terms of U.S. handling of the broader Saudi relationship and Washington's interest in avoiding a major regional blowout over this crisis.

In short, Haspel was the best person to send to maximize the probability of honest answers and accurate CIA assessments. The CIA's primary mission is to inform policymakers. This short mission serves that agenda.