Submitted by James Miller of The Political Insider
This morning we learned that President Trump finally pulled the trigger on his decision to fire Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State, and replace him with current CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
That left an opening at the head of America’s top intelligence agency. President Trump has indicated that Gina Haspel, the current Deputy Director of the CIA, will get the nomination to lead the agency.
Who is Gina Haspel? Here are five fast facts you need to know about her.
- Haspel, if confirmed by a majority vote in the Senate, would be the very first female head of the CIA. This is a great achievement, and one that liberals will give no credit to Trump for.
- Haspel has been a career CIA employee and once ran an agency prison in Thailand, where waterboarding was used an an extreme interrogation measure. President Trump has supported waterboarding in the past.
- Being appointed director of the CIA would be a huge promotion for Haspel, but she has held multiple leadership roles within the U.S. intelligence community in the past. Her past roles include being “deputy director of the National Clandestine Service and deputy director of the National Clandestine Service for Foreign Intelligence and Covert Action.”
- Haspel was investigated for her role in heading a prison where waterboarding took place, and obeyed an order to destroy video evidence of the interrogation. The Justice Department ultimately filed no charges in the case.
- Haspel has received numerous rewards and accolades for her work, including the George H. W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism and the Presidential Rank Award, which is the highest award in the federal civil service.
President Trump congratulated Haspel and Pompeo on their promotions this morning:
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
Edward Snowden had some comments of his own earlier this morning. First, he tweeted that “the new CIA director was a key part of the torture program and its illegal cover-up. Her name was on the Top Secret order demanding the destruction of tapes to prevent them being seen by Congress. Incredible. ”
He then noted that “The new CIA Director Haspel, who “tortured some folks,” probably can’t travel to the EU to meet other spy chiefs without facing arrest due to an @ECCHRBerlin complaint to Germany’s federal prosecutor.”
He also asked a rhetorical question: “Are these really the values the US should be promoting? The CIA might as well start issuing uniforms decorated with skulls and lightning bolts.” He said this in response to a NYT report according to which “As a clandestine officer at the Central Intelligence Agency in 2002, Gina Haspel oversaw the torture of two terrorism suspects and later took part in an order to destroy videotapes documenting their brutal interrogations”
Separately, Julian Assange, who has plenty of reason to be nervous following his public spat with Mike Pompeo, tweeted the following: “As head of CIA, the US press (aka “the Mighty Wurlitzer”) fawned over Mike Pompeo. Congratulations, he’s now your new Secretary of State.”