President Donald Trump named Gina Haspel the first female director of the CIA. The appointment of Haspel to the top post at the CIA comes on the heels of the abrupt and shocking firing of Rex Tillerson as the U.S. Secretary of State on Twitter. The Incumbent Director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo was appointed to the position of U.S. Secretary of State within the same tweet by Donald Trump. Haspel is the current Deputy Director of the CIA. Haspel has been a member of the CIA since 1985. Trump appointed Haspel as the Deputy Director of the CIA in February 2017.
Haspel is publicly associated with brutal torture during her tenure working as a part of the CIA’s clandestine service. Most poignantly her overseeing of the brutal torture of Al Qaeda operatives at a CIA black site prison in Thailand. Abu Zubaydah was exposed to the “enhanced interrogation” program. According to declassified CIA documents, Zubaydah was subjected to sleep deprivation, walling, and waterboarding techniques. The New York Times reported that Zubaydah was waterboarded 83 times in a one-month period. Video footage of the torture sessions were destroyed by the CIA in 2005.
The European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) asked German prosecutors to press charges and arrest Haspel for her involvement in the systematic torture of captives in Thailand during June 2017.
There are very few public photos of Gina Haspel in circulation on the internet and outside of the torture controversy very little is known about Haspel. She is very well respected in the intelligence community among her colleagues. Outgoing Director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo states of Haspel, “Gina is an exemplary intelligence officer and a devoted patriot who brings more than 30 years of Agency experience to the job. She is also a proven leader with an uncanny ability to get things done and to inspire those around her.”
Haspel was the first female to be named deputy director of the CIA and will now have the honor of being the first female named director of the CIA.
The move comes at a critical time for the Trump administration as renegotiations of the Iran nuclear deal, North Korea meetings, and the unveiling of Middle East peace plans between the Palestinians and Israel looms.