President Donald Trump announced on Tuesday via Twitter that Gina Haspel will be nominated to replace Mike Pompeo as director of the Central Intelligence Agency.
If the Senate confirms her, she would become the first female CIA director in history. The position, which was created in 1946, has to this date been held by 24 different men.
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
Mike Pompeo is a man of highest integrity w/ unquestionable
qualifications who will do an outstanding job. Gina Haspel is a dedicated public servant who will bring decades of experience to her new role as CIA Director.
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) March 13, 2018
Statement from Deputy Director of the CIA Gina Haspel:
“After thirty years as an officer of the Central Intelligence Agency…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 CIA.”
— Jennifer Griffin (@JenGriffinFNC) March 13, 2018
Haspel has been serving as deputy director of the CIA since February 2017, a position she was appointed to by Trump.
She joined the CIA in 1985 and has served for over thirty years, mostly in the clandestine operations.
She received the George H.W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism, the Donovan Award, the Intelligence Medal of Merit, and the Presidential Rank Award.
According to the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report, Haspel oversaw “the waterboarding and other harsh techniques” used to interrogate suspected al Qaeda terrorists Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri when she ran a secret “black site” CIA prison in Thailand, codenamed “Cat’s Eye,” as reported by the Washington Post.
President George W. Bush approved of the operation she was running.
Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times, stuffed into a wooden box barely bigger than a coffin, and had his head slammed into walls.
Haspel has been linked to the illegal destruction of videotapes of these interrogations, but no prosecution ever came of it because she was following orders.
Former CIA Director John Brennan, an Obama-appointee, defended her.
“Gina Haspel has a lot of integrity,” Brennan said on MSNBC. “She has tried to carry out her duties at CIA to the best of her ability, even when the CIA was asked to some very difficult things in very challenging times.”
The nonprofit European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights submitted a legal brief to German federal prosecutors in June 2017 asking requesting Hospel’s arrest for torture.
Some Democratic senators, such as Ron Wyden and Martin Heinrich, have already come out and opposed confirming her.