Who Is Gina Haspel? Trump Announces CIA Replacement for Pompeo After He Takes Over for Tillerson

Updated | As is becoming standard in the Trump administration, there was a major shake-up in Washington on Tuesday. President Donald Trump announced Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was out and would be replaced by CIA Director Mike Pompeo. Pompeo, meanwhile, would be replaced by Gina Haspel.

"Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State," tweeted the president. "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!"

Haspel currently serves as the deputy director of the CIA and will have to be confirmed as director. In a statement to The Washington Post, which broke the news of the shake-up, Trump praised Haspel further while noting that she and Pompeo "have worked together for more than a year, and have developed a great mutual respect."

"After 30 years as an officer of the Central Intelligence Agency, it has been my honor to serve as its Deputy Director alongside Mike Pompeo for the past year," Haspel told the Post. "I am grateful to President Trump for the opportunity, and humbled by his confidence in me, to be nominated to be the next Director of the Central Intelligence Agency."

When Haspel was selected as deputy director in February 2017, it was pointed out that from 2003 to 2005 she oversaw a CIA program known to use brutal interrogation tactics on terrorism suspects, including putting people in coffins and depriving them of sleep, according to The New Yorker. "It appears that the debate about torture in the President’s mind, if there ever was one, is over," Dexter Filkins wrote in the magazine. 

Haspel was also reportedly involved in the destruction of tapes that showed torture, which violated court orders and requests from the 9/11 Commission, according to The Intercept.

In 2009, President Barack Obama ordered the closure of the so-called black site programs, or secret prisons, like the one Haspel oversaw.

Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch, tweeted on Tuesday that both Pompeo and Haspel have "a troubled history with torture."

This story has been updated to include additional details about Haspel's involvement with black site programs and a tweet from President Trump.

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