Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Gina Haspel New CIA Director

President Trump announced that Gina Haspel, Deputy Director of the CIA, will take over as the new Director of the CIA. She has been with the CIA for more than 30 years. Haspel joined the CIA in 1985. She is a career spymaster with "extensive overseas experience," serving as station chief -- a government official in charge of a post in a foreign country -- during most of her assignments.
Haspel was sworn in as the CIA's deputy director on February 7, 2017, becoming the first woman to hold the position. Haspel ran the CIA's first overseas detention site in Thailand, where imprisoned militants were repeatedly waterboarded and endured various other forms of torture. Like Pompeo, Trump agrees torture works and pledged his support for CIA-run "black site" prisons outside the U.S.
"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. 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.
"She provides advice based on facts and analysis of facts ... 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," Morell said in an online statement.
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. Haspel has received several prestigious awards, including the George H. W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism, the Donovan Award, the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal and the Presidential Rank Award, which recognizes individuals for "exceptional performance over an extended period of time," according to the CIA.
Now we'll see what all those Obama and Bush folks who said she was great a year ago, say today.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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