After Donald Trump announced he has fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and appointed CIA head Mike Pompeo as his replacement, the president has tapped the controversial Gina Haspel as the new CIA director, provided she is first confirmed by the Senate.
Below are some important facts about Haspel’s career as reported by The Daily Caller News Foundation:
- Haspel will be the first female CIA director in history. The position, which dates back to 1946 when President Truman established the CIA, has to this date been held by 24 different men.
- Haspel has more than 30 years of history with the CIA. She joined the agency in 1985 and has served the majority of her career in clandestine operations.
- In 2002, Haspel ran a “black site” prison in Thailand, which was part of a network of prisons established by the agency, as reported by the Washington Post. According to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report, Haspel oversaw “the waterboarding and other harsh techniques” used to interrogate Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, suspected al Qaeda terrorists.
- Haspel has been linked to the illegal destruction of videotapes of these interrogations, but no prosecution ever came of it.
- Haspel, currently acting deputy director of the CIA, has previously served as deputy director of the National Clandestine Service, deputy director of the National Clandestine Service for Foreign Intelligence and Covert Action, chief of staff for the director of the National Clandestine Service.
- Haspel received numerous awards for her service. According to the CIA, Haspel has received the “George H. W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism; the Donovan Award; the Intelligence Medal of Merit; and the Presidential Rank Award, the most prestigious award in the federal civil service.”
Early on Tuesday, Trump told the press that Haspel is “an outstanding person who also I have gotten to know very well.”
“So I’ve gotten to know a lot of people very well over the last year, and I’m really at a point where we’re getting very close to having the cabinet and other things that I want,”Trump added
Here’s what former House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers said of Haspel:
“I have had the privilege to work with Ms. Haspel during challenging and intense times for our nation’s security. She is an exceptional leader, patriot and consummate professional. She showed the savvy and grit needed in difficult situations that has garnered respect of colleagues and adversaries alike. Her commitment to the mission and rule of law are unparalleled.”