President Donald Trump tweeted Tuesday morning that he will nominate Gina Haspel to become the new CIA director, replacing Mike Pompeo, who will be nominated as the next Secretary of State.
If confirmed, Haspel would be the first woman to lead the Central Intelligence Agency.
In a statement, Gina Haspel said she was “humbled” by the opportunity.
“After thirty 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,” Haspel said in a statement Tuesday. “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.”
Here is what you need to know about Gina Haspel.
Gina Haspel would be the first female CIA director
It’s rare to promote someone for this post from within the agency, and Haspel will be the first-ever female director of the CIA if confirmed.
Gina Haspel has a long career at the CIA
Most recently, Haspel had been deputy director under Pompeo, but she has worked at the CIA since 1985. She has held numerous leadership positions in the CIA and spent much of her career undercover, the New York Times reports, and was deeply involved in the agency’s controversial torture program.
In 2002, she ran the agency’s black site prison in Thailand, where she oversaw the waterboarding of detainees. The tapes of those encounters were destroyed in 2005, with Haspel’s name linked to the order to get rid of them.
Gina Haspel has been controversial, but also praised
Haspel’s role in the interrogation program caused controversy on the Hill in the past, but she is well-regarded within the agency and praised by many of her intelligence colleagues.
James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence under President Barack Obama, said in 2017 he was “very pleased” with the pick of Gina Haspel to be deputy and that she is “widely and deeply respected by the workforce.” Former CIA Director Michael Hayden said she was a “wonderful” choice for deputy and complimented her “dignity, professionalism and honor.”