In a Tuesday tweet, President Donald Trump congratulated Gina Haspel, who, if confirmed by Congress, will now serve as the first female CIA director. Former CIA Director Mike Pompeo has been tapped to replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of State.
“Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!” Trump tweeted.
Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 13, 2018
Haspel, who previously served as Pompeo’s deputy, said in a statement, “I am grateful to President Trump for the opportunity, and humbled by his confidence in me, to be nominated to be the next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.”
Haspel joined the CIA in 1985 and has “extensive overseas experience,” serving as station chief — a government official in charge of a post in a foreign country — during most of her assignments. One of her assignments reportedly included the operation of the CIA’s first overseas detention site in Thailand, where imprisoned militants were waterboarded and subject to torture.
According to former U.S. intelligence officials, Haspel briefly ran a covert CIA prison where accused terrorists Abu Zubayadah and Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri were waterboarded in 2002. She also assisted in carrying out an order that the CIA destroy its videos of waterboarding interrogations. A lengthy Justice Department investigation was prompted by that order, but concluded without charges, Fox News reported.
On Feb. 7, 2017, Haspel was sworn in as the CIA’s deputy director, becoming the first woman to hold the position.
“In this position, she assists the D/CIA in managing intelligence collection, analysis, covert action, counterintelligence, and liaison relationships with foreign services,” according to the CIA.
Michael Morell, who twice served as CIA acting director, called Haspel “widely respected,” adding that “she gets things done.” Morrell worked closely with Haspel for nearly seven years, until he retired from the CIA in 2013.
Haspel has held several key leadership positions in Washington, including deputy director of the National Clandestine Service and deputy director of the National Clandestine Service for Foreign Intelligence and Covert Action.
Several prestigious awards have been bestowed upon Haspel, including the George H. W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism, the Donovan Award, the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal and the Presidential Rank Award, which recognizes individuals for “exceptional performance over an extended period of time.”