Gina Haspel, the newly named director of the CIA, and the first woman named to the position, is a career spymaster who once ran a CIA prison in Thailand where terror suspects were waterboarded — a harsh interrogation technique President Donald Trump has supported.
President Trump announced Haspel's promotion Tuesday morning in the same tweet where he announced his ouster of embattled Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, and Mike Pompeo's selection as his replacement.
CIA Director Mike Pompeo appointed Haspel as the first female CIA officer to be named deputy director on February 2, 2017, and at the time, his choice was widely praised by top national security officials including former CIA Director Michael Hayden and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who is a vocal Trump critic.
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 Action.
She also had a role in the CIA's former covert program where suspected terrorists were subjected to harsh interrogation methods, including waterboarding, which simulates drowning.