After the 2020 election, ex-Trump attorney and adviser Sidney Powell reportedly tried to enlist a Department of Defense official to help retrieve then-CIA Director Gina Haspel from what Powell believed to be a secret, election-related mission in Germany, ABC News reports, according to journalist Jonathan Karl's new book, Betrayal: Inside the Final Act of the Trump Show. The mission, which was not real, became one of the "most far-fetched claims about the election."
According to Karl, Powell called the senior intelligence official, Ezra Cohen, in the election's aftermath, pushing a "false conspiracy theory that had been gaining steam among QAnon followers."
"Gina Haspel has been hurt and taken into custody in Germany," Powell told Cohen, per Karl. "You need to launch a special operations mission to get her."
The Trump attorney believed Haspel had been injured while completing a secret CIA operation aiming to seize and destroy evidence of vote tampering on an election-related computer server, Karl reports. She thought the CIA was complicit. None of it was true.
But Powell believed it, and wanted the Defense Department to immediately "send a special operations team over to Germany," locate the server, and "force Haspel to confess," Karl writes.
Cohen, for his part, "thought Powell sounded out of her mind," and soon reported the call up the chain, according to Karl.
A CIA spokesperson later further debunked any conspiracies, having told news outlets, "I'm happy to tell you that Director Haspel is alive and well and at the office."