Trump’s pick for new CIA director is female career spymaster
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s choice to be the first female
director of the CIA is a career spymaster who once ran an agency prison in
Thailand where terror suspects were subjected to a harsh interrogation technique that the president has supported.
Trump tweeted Tuesday that CIA Director Mike Pompeo will replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state and that he has selected Gina Haspel to replace Pompeo.
Haspel, the deputy CIA director, also helped carry out an order that the
agency destroy its waterboarding videos. That order prompted a lengthy Justice
Department investigation that ended without charges.
Haspel, who has extensive overseas experience, briefly ran a secret CIA prison
where accused terrorists Abu Zubayadah and Abd al Rahim al-Nashiri were
waterboarded in 2002, according to current and former U.S. intelligence
officials, who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
More than a decade after waterboarding was last used, the CIA is still haunted
by the legacy of a tactic that the U.S. government regarded as torture before the Bush administration authorized its use against terrorist suspects. There is no indication that Trump’s pick signals a desire to restart the harsh
interrogation and detention program.
Haspel, who joined the CIA in 1985, has been chief of station at CIA outposts
abroad. In Washington, she 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
When she was picked as deputy CIA director, her career was lauded by veteran
intelligence officials, including former Director of National Intelligence James
Clapper, who recently retired.
But it also upset the American Civil Liberties Union and other rights advocates who found it unsettling that Trump with chose someone who was involved in the harsh interrogation program.