Deputy CIA Director Gina Haspel is in line to become the first woman to lead the agency after the sudden departure today of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Trump intends to shift CIA Director Mike Pompeo over to the lead role at the State Department; Pompeo faces confirmation hearings before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
“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!” tweeted President Trump this morning.
Haspel is a career intelligence officer who started with the CIA in 1985, serving as chief of station in several of her overseas assignments. Her awards including the George H. W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism, the Donovan Award, the Intelligence Medal of Merit, and the Presidential Rank Award.
“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,” she said in a statement today. “If confirmed, I look forward to providing President Trump the outstanding intelligence support he has grown to expect during his first year in office.”
Her leadership positions at the agency include deputy director of the National Clandestine Service, deputy director of the National Clandestine Service for Foreign Intelligence and Covert Action, and chief of staff for the director of the National Clandestine Service.
Haspel was sworn in as deputy director on Feb. 7, 2017. Her duties include managing intelligence collection, analysis, covert action, counterintelligence, and liaison relationships with foreign services.
Her confirmation hearings may be rocky, as Haspel is likely to face tough questioning about her leadership of a “black site” detention facility in Thailand and the use of enhanced interrogation tactics, including waterboarding, there. Some senators opposed her deputy director nomination based on this background.
At the White House today, Trump called Haspel “an outstanding person who also I have gotten to know very well.”