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Gina Haspel
Gina Haspel official CIA portrait.jpg
Official portrait, 2017
7th Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
In office
April 26, 2018 – January 20, 2021
Acting: April 26, 2018 – May 21, 2018
President Donald Trump
Deputy Vaughn Bishop
Preceded by Mike Pompeo
Succeeded by William J. Burns
6th Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
In office
February 2, 2017 – May 21, 2018
President Donald Trump
Preceded by David Cohen
Succeeded by Vaughn Bishop
Director of the National Clandestine Service
In office
February 28, 2013 – May 7, 2013
President Barack Obama
Preceded by John Bennett
Succeeded by Frank Archibald
Personal details
Gina Cheri Walker

(1956-10-01) October 1, 1956 (age 67)
Ashland, Kentucky, U.S.
Jeff Haspel
(m. 1976; div. 1985)
Education University of Kentucky
University of Louisville (BA)
Northeastern University (Cert)
Awards Presidential Rank Award
Donovan Award
Intelligence Medal of Merit

Gina Cheri Walker Haspel (born October 1, 1956) is an American intelligence officer who was the director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) from May 21, 2018, to January 20, 2021. She was the agency's deputy director from 2017 to 2018 under Mike Pompeo, and became acting director on April 26, 2018, after Pompeo became U.S. secretary of state. She was later nominated and confirmed to the role, making her the first woman to become CIA director on a permanent basis.

Early life

Haspel was born Gina Cheri Walker on October 1, 1956, in Ashland, Kentucky. Her father served in the United States Air Force. She has four siblings.

Haspel attended high school in the United Kingdom. She was a student at the University of Kentucky for three years and transferred for her senior year to the University of Louisville, where she graduated in May 1978 with a Bachelor of Science in languages and journalism. From 1980 to 1981, she worked as a civilian library coordinator at Fort Devens in Massachusetts. She received a paralegal certificate from Northeastern University in 1982 and worked as a paralegal until she was hired by the CIA.

Early career

Early CIA career

Haspel joined the CIA in January 1985 as a reports officer. She held several undercover overseas positions. Her first field assignment was from 1987 to 1989 in Ethiopia, Central Eurasia, Turkey, followed by several assignments in Europe and Central Eurasia from 1990 to 2001. From 1996 to 1998, Haspel served as station chief in Baku, Azerbaijan.

From 2001 to 2003, her position was listed as Deputy Group Chief, Counterterrorism Center.

Between October and December 2002, Haspel was assigned to oversee a secret CIA prison in Thailand Detention Site GREEN, code-named Cat's Eye, which housed persons suspected of involvement in Al-Qaeda. The prison was part of the US government's "extraordinary rendition" program after the September 11 attacks.

On January 8, 2019, Carol Rosenberg, of the Miami Herald, reported that partially redacted transcripts from a pre-trial hearing of Guantanamo Military Commission of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, seemed to indicate that Haspel had been the "Chief of Base" of a clandestine CIA detention site on the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station, in the 2003–2004 period.

National Clandestine Service leadership

Haspel served as the deputy director of the National Clandestine Service, deputy director of the National Clandestine Service for Foreign Intelligence and Covert Action, and chief of staff for the director of the National Clandestine Service.

In 2005, Haspel was the chief of staff to Jose Rodriguez, Director of the National Clandestine Service. In his memoir, Rodriguez wrote that Haspel had drafted a cable in 2005 ordering the destruction of dozens of videotapes made at the black site in Thailand in response to mounting public scrutiny of the program. At the Senate confirmation hearing considering her nomination to head the CIA, Haspel explained that the tapes had been destroyed in order to protect the identities of CIA officers whose faces were visible, at a time when leaks of US intelligence were rampant.

In 2013, John Brennan, then the director of Central Intelligence, named Haspel as acting director of the National Clandestine Service, which carries out covert operations around the globe. However, she was not appointed to the position permanently due to criticism about her involvement in the Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program. Her permanent appointment was opposed by Dianne Feinstein and others in the Senate.

Deputy Director of the CIA

On February 2, 2017, President Trump appointed Haspel Deputy Director of the CIA, a position that does not require Senate confirmation. In an official statement released that day, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-CA) said:

With more than thirty years of service to the CIA and extensive overseas experience, Gina has worked closely with the House Intelligence Committee and has impressed us with her dedication, forthrightness, and her deep commitment to the Intelligence Community. She is undoubtedly the right person for the job, and the Committee looks forward to working with her in the future.

Director of the CIA


On March 13, 2018, President Donald Trump announced he would nominate Haspel to be the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, replacing Mike Pompeo—whom he tapped to become the new Secretary of State. Once confirmed by the Senate, Haspel became the first woman to serve as permanent Director of the CIA (Meroe Park served as Associate Deputy Director from 2013 to 2017, and acting director for three days in January 2017). Robert Baer, who once supervised Haspel at the CIA, found her to be "smart, tough and effective. Foreign liaison services who have worked with her uniformly walked away impressed."

More than 50 former senior U.S. government officials, including six former Directors of the CIA and three former directors of national intelligence, signed a letter supporting her nomination. They included former Directors of the CIA John Brennan, Leon Panetta and Michael Morell, former Director of the NSA and CIA Michael Hayden, and former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

On May 9, 2018, Haspel appeared before the Senate Intelligence Committee for a confirmation hearing.

On May 14, Haspel sent a letter to Senator Mark Warner of Virginia stating that, in hindsight, the CIA should not have operated its interrogation and detention program. Shortly thereafter, Warner announced he would back Haspel when the Senate Intelligence Committee voted on whether to refer her nomination to the full Senate.

She was approved for confirmation by the Senate Intelligence Committee on May 16 by a 10–5 vote, with two Democrats voting in favor. The next day, Haspel was confirmed by the full Senate, on a mostly party-line, 54–45 vote. Paul and Jeff Flake of Arizona were the only Republican nays, and six Democrats — Donnelly, Manchin, Warner, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Bill Nelson of Florida, and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire — voted yes. McCain, who had urged his colleagues to reject her nomination, did not cast a vote, as he was hospitalized at the time.


President Trump Holds a Meeting in the Oval Office (32007462457)
Haspel in a meeting with President Donald Trump, John Bolton, and Dan Coats, January 2019

Haspel was officially sworn in on May 21, 2018, becoming the first woman to serve as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency on a permanent basis.

On January 29, 2019, during a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing, Haspel reported that the CIA was "pleased" with the Trump administration's March 2018 expulsion of 61 Russian diplomats following the poisoning of Sergei and Yulia Skripal. Haspel added that the CIA did not object to the Treasury Department's decision in December 2018 to remove sanctions on three Russian companies tied to Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a close associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin. On the subject of recent relations between North Korea and the United States, Haspel stated, "I think our analysts would assess that they value the dialogue with the United States, and we do see indications that Kim Jong-un is trying to navigate a path toward some kind of better future for the North Korean people."

By May 2019, Haspel had hired many women in senior positions.

After retiring from the CIA, Haspel began advising the law firm King & Spalding in July 2021.

Awards and recognition

Haspel has received a number of awards, including the George H. W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism, the Donovan Award, the Intelligence Medal of Merit, and the Presidential Rank Award

Personal life

Haspel married Jeff Haspel, who served in the United States Army, c. 1976; they were divorced by 1985. From 2001 to 2018 she owned a home in Ashburn, Virginia.

See also

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