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Who is Gina Haspel, the new CIA director nominee?

President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday that Gina Haspel will be nominated as the first female director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

The move came after Trump fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and announced that CIA Director Mike Pompeo would take his place.

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Trump, talking to reporters Tuesday morning about Haspel, "She's an outstanding person who also I've gotten to know very well."

Who is Gina Haspel? Here are a few things you may not know about her.

  • She is 61 years old.
  • She is a career intelligence officer and has worked for the CIA since 1985.
  • Haspel ran a CIA prison in Thailand in 2002. According to The New York Times, Haspel was part of the Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation program which “oversaw the torture of two terrorism suspects.”
  • The Washington Post reported that Haspel  was part of a group of CIA officials involved in the decision to destroy videotapes of interrogation sessions that left some detainees  on the brink of physical collapse.” 
  • She served as chief of staff for the director of the National Clandestine Service.
  • In 2013, she was nominated for the position of deputy director of the National Clandestine Service. The National Clandestine Service is in charge of covert operations across the globe. She was not confirmed for that position after senators questioned her actions in the Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program. 
  • Haspel served as the deputy director of the National Clandestine Service for Foreign Intelligence and Covert Action.
  • She was appointed deputy director of the CIA by Trump in February 2017.
  • She has been awarded 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.
  • She is well-respected in the intelligence community.

Here, from the CIA press release, are some responses to the announcement of her nomination:

Charles Allen, former assistant director for collection at CIA: “As a CIA officer of 47 years, I can say without reservation that Gina Haspel has my strongest support in her appointment as Deputy Director. A deeply experienced clandestine officer who has held senior positions both at home and abroad, Ms. Haspel is not only an outstanding operations officer but also a recognized program manager and an exceptional leader. She has selflessly dedicated her life to the Agency and to the security of the nation. CIA officers and Intelligence Community leaders writ large will applaud her selection.”

James Clapper, former director of National Intelligence: “I am very pleased to learn of Director Pompeo’s selection of Gina Haspel as Deputy Director. It speaks well of him for picking a seasoned veteran of the Agency who is widely and deeply respected by the workforce as well as those outside the Agency. She has the broad-gauged experience from both foreign and domestic assignments to serve as the right-arm for Director Pompeo. I am particularly gratified, since she has also been a strong proponent for integration, not only within CIA, but across the Intelligence Community.”

Michael Hayden, former CIA director: “What a wonderful choice for Deputy Director, one that will be celebrated by current and former Agency officers alike. Ms. Haspel has responded with dignity, professionalism and honor to everything the Agency and nation have asked her to do. I am sure that she will be for Director Pompeo what Steve Kappes was for me --- a trusted friend, lieutenant and guide to the sometimes opaque corridors of American espionage.”

Stephen Kappes, former deputy director of CIA: “A person of great honesty and integrity, Gina Haspel is a highly skilled Agency professional who has a complete understanding of all the parts of the intelligence business. Given her vast experience both at home and abroad, she is able to work effectively and collaboratively across the many elements of the National Security establishment. She is mission-focused, leads actively and never shies away from the difficult tasks. To these tasks, she also brings creativity and a sense of innovation, both of which will be important in a fast-changing world. Gina Haspel is an excellent choice to fill the Deputy’s role and support the new Director in his movement forward.”

Fran Moore, former director for Intelligence at CIA: “Gina Haspel is an outstanding choice for Deputy Director. She is a seasoned, collaborative officer of great integrity who will be a tremendous partner for Director Pompeo in leading CIA.”

Michael Morell, former deputy director and twice acting director of CIA: “I applaud the appointment. Ms. Haspel will serve Pompeo, the Agency, and her country extremely well. She is widely respected throughout the Agency, and she will be welcomed in the new job by both current and former employees. I worked closely with Haspel from 2006 until my retirement from the Agency in 2013. During that time, I found her to be simply exceptional. She provides advice based on facts and analysis of facts. She gets things done in a quiet, yet effective way, and she is calm under fire. She appreciates the work of all CIA officers – analysts, scientists, and support specialists, as much as she appreciates operations officers.”

Mike Rogers, former chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence: “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 have garnered respect of colleagues and adversaries alike. Her commitment to the mission and rule of law are unparalleled."

This March 21, 2017, photo provided by the CIA, shows CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel. Haspel, who joined the CIA in 1985, has been chief of station at CIA outposts abroad. President Donald Trump tweeted March 13, 2018, that he would nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to be the new secretary of state and that he would nominate Haspel to replace him. She has extensive overseas experience, including several stints as chief of station at outposts abroad.(CIA via AP)
Photo: AP


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