Gina Haspel named 1st female CIA director: 5 things to know about the career spymaster

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.

Rex Tillerson is out as secretary of state. Jonathan Swan of Axios provides insight into Pompeo's nomination.

In a surprise Tuesday morning tweet, President Trump offered his "congratulations" to Gina Haspel, his new choice for CIA director, as he announced Mike Pompeo would be replacing 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.

The news didn't come as a total shock, as Tillerson and the president appeared to have a rocky relationship ever since NBC News reported in October that he called Trump a "moron," something he never flat out denied.

Haspel previously served as Pompeo’s deputy. If confirmed as the CIA's new chief, she will become the agency's first-ever female director.

“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 said in a statement.

Here are 5 things to know about Trump's pick for CIA director.

After decades of service, Haspel was sworn in as the CIA's deputy director on Feb. 7, 2017, 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," the CIA explained.

"We’re worried about waterboarding as our enemy, ISIS, is beheading people and burning people alive. Time for us to wake up," Trump tweeted in February 2015.

Haspel briefly ran a secret CIA prison where accused terrorists Abu Zubayadah and Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri were waterboarded in 2002, according to former U.S. intelligence officials.

"Zubayadah alone was waterboarded 83 times in a single month, had his head repeatedly slammed into walls and endured other harsh methods before interrogators decided he had no useful information to provide," The Times reported.

She also helped carry out an order that the CIA destroy its waterboarding videos. That order prompted a lengthy Justice Department investigation that ended without charges.

Veteran intelligence officials praised Trump's decision to name Haspel deputy director in February 2017, including former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

“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,” Clapper said at the time. “She has also been a strong proponent for integration, not only within CIA, but across the intelligence community.”

Michael Morell, who served as CIA acting director twice, called Haspel "widely respected," boasting that "she gets things done." He said he worked closely with Haspel for nearly seven years -- until his retirement from the agency in 2013.

Michael Hayden, former CIA director, also called Haspel a "wonderful choice."

"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," Hayden said.

In Washington, Haspel has held several top senior leadership positions, including deputy director of the National Clandestine Service and deputy director of the National Clandestine Service for Foreign Intelligence and Covert Action.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. ©2018 FOX News Network, LLC. All rights reserved. All market data delayed 20 minutes.

 

March 13, 2018

Sources: Fox News

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