President Donald Trump has ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on March 13, and announced he is replacing Tillerson with current CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Trump simultaneously said that CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel would be stepping into the director role at the Agency. Here are five things to know about her.
1. Gina Haspel is currently the deputy director at the CIA. Now that Tillerson has been fired, Haspel will succeed him, making her the first woman to run the agency. “Gina Haspel, the Deputy Director of the CIA, will be nominated to replace Director Pompeo and she will be the CIA’s first-ever female director, a historic milestone,” Trump said in a statement via the Washington Post. “Mike and Gina have worked together for more than a year, and have developed a great mutual respect.”
2. Controversially, Haspel took part in a now-banned CIA torture program back in 2002. She “oversaw the torture of two terrorism suspects and later took part in an order to destroy videotapes documenting their brutal interrogations at a secret prison in Thailand,” as the New York Times confirmed in 2017, and oversaw brutal interrogations that included waterboarding as a torture method. (Trump has supported the technique.)
3. She started working at the Central Intelligence Agency in 1985. Haspel is considered a career intelligence officer, with extensive overseas experience.
4. Trump selected Haspel to be the Deputy Director of CIA in 2017. “Gina is an exemplary intelligence officer and a devoted patriot who brings more than 30 years of Agency experience to the job. She is also a proven leader with an uncanny ability to get things done and to inspire those around her,” former Director Pompeo said at the time. “We are fortunate that someone of her intellect, skill, and experience will be our Deputy Director. I know she will do an outstanding job, and I look forward to working with her closely in the years ahead.”
5. Haspel is understandably excited about her new promotion. “After 30 years as an officer of the Central Intelligence Agency, it has been my honor to serve as its Deputy Director alongside Mike Pompeo for the past year,” she said in an official 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.”