One Year Ago — RUMINT : DCIA Gina Haspel to Step Down After Election [Biography]

“I wrote a letter to the CIA on my manual college typewriter. I mailed it to CIA with my résumé. I didn’t have an address. So I just put: CIA. Washington, D.C. And here I am.”

DCIA Gina HaspelAuburn University (April 18 2018)

OCTOBER 26 2020 — According to rumors, CIA Director Gina Haspel (64) intends to step down and  retire after the 2020 US election. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY

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“The #CIA workforce thanks Director Haspel for her 36 years of dedicated service to the American people. You have broken barriers and empowered the next generation of CIA officers.”

CIA Tweet (January 19 2021)

UPDATE (October 26 2021) — On January 19 2021, a CIA tweet announced that CIA Director Gina Haspel had resigned.

On January 11 2021, President-elect Joe Biden had nominated William Burns to be the next CIA director.

Biden had already picked David Cohen to serve as deputy director of the CIA. [This position doesn’t require Senate confirmation.]

Cohen was sworn-in on January 20 2021) to serve as the Agency’s Deputy Director, a position he held previously from 2015 to 2017.

While awaiting the Senate confirmation of Ambassador William J. Burns as CIA Director, Cohen also served as Acting Director.

On March 18 2021, William J. Burns was confirmed by a unanimous vote in the Senate to become CIA director.

Although Haspel did step down as DCIA, she did not really retire… In July 2021, Haspel began advising the law firm King & Spalding.

Haspel, along with one-time U.S. Department of Justice official Andrew Hruska, will oversee King & Spalding’s risk-advisory service.

The group will work with major banks and other institutional firms to help clients assess risks to family wealth from such issues as countries of origin, regulations and cryptocurrencies.

END of UPDATE

OCTOBER 26 2020 — According to anonymous sources, CIA Director Haspel is “despised and distrusted almost universally” within the US president’s inner circle.

If re-elected, Trump plans to replace Haspel as well as the FBI Director Chris Wray. 

Behind the scenes: “The view of Haspel in the West Wing is that she still sees her job as manipulating people and outcomes, the way she must have when she was working assets in the field,” one source with direct knowledge of the internal conversations told Axios. “It’s bred a lot of suspicion of her motives.”

Trump is also increasingly frustrated with Haspel for opposing the declassification of documents that would help the Justice Department’s Durham report.

A source familiar with conversations at the CIA says, “Since the beginning of DNI’s push to declassify documents, and how strongly she feels about protecting sources connected to those materials, there have been rumblings around the agency that the director plans to depart the CIA regardless of who wins the election.”

Gina Haspel Career — TIMELINE

1956 October 1 — Gina Haspel was born in Ashland, Kentucky, the oldest of five children. Her father served in the Air Force, having joined at 17, and she grew up on military bases overseas.

— After graduating from high school in England, Gina Haspel returned home to attend the University of Kentucky, where she studied languages and majored in journalism.

—  she moved to Louisville her senior year for an internship and graduated with honors from the University of Louisville.

— After college, Gina Haspel worked as a contractor with the 10th Special Forces Group at Ft. Devens in Massachusetts. She ran the library and foreign language lab.

1985 -1987  — Haspel joins the CIA as a “Career Trainee” in the Directorate of Operations

1987 -1989 —  First overseas assignment as a case officer in  Addis Abeba (Ethiopia). CIA station was then run by Waldimir Skotzko.

1989 -1990 — Language training. Haspel had some fluency in Spanish and French prior to joining CIA. As a CIA officer she learned Turkish and Russian.

1990  (August) – 1993 –Second Secretary at the US Embassy in Ankara, Turkey (Case Officer Tour, field assignment, Europe Division)

1993 – 1994 — Intelligence Operations Officer, Russian Operations Group, Central Eurasia Division

1994 – 1995 — Chief of an Intelligence Branch, Central Eurasia Division

1995 – 1996 Language and other training

1996 –1998 — Chief of Station, Central Eurasia Division. Reportedly deputy station chief in Baku, Azerbaijan in 1998. Haspel is credited for an operation that led to the arrest of two terrorists linked to the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.

1998 – 2000 — Deputy Group Chief, Russian Operations, Central Eurasia Division

1999 — Executive assistant to James Pavitt, Director of Clandestine Operations (DDO)

2000 – 2001 — Deputy Chief of Station, Europe Division

2001 -2003  — Deputy Group Chief, CTC. (In the wake of 9/11) Haspel joins the Counter-Terrorism Center at the request of José Rodriguez.

2002 — Between October and December 2002, Haspel was assigned to oversee a secret CIA prison in Thailand, code-named Cat’s Eye, that housed persons suspected of involvement in Al-Qaeda. The prison was part of the U.S. government’s extraordinary rendition program after the September 11 attacks, and used enhanced interrogation techniques such as waterboarding that are considered by many to be torture. According to a former senior CIA official, Haspel arrived as Station Chief after the interrogation of Abu Zubaydah, but was chief during the waterboarding of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri.

2003 – 2004 — Senior-level Supervisor, Counterterrorism Center (“CTC”). Haspel heads the CIA «Renditions and Interrogations Group» inside the Counter-Terrorism Center — “Chief of Base” of a clandestine CIA detention site on the Guantanamo Bay Naval Station

2004 – 2005 Deputy Chief, National Resources Division.

2005 – 2008 — Chief of Staff, Directorate of Operations

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. (“Haspel was the chief of staff when I (Robert Richer is a former associate deputy director of operations for the CIA) was the No. 2 person in the agency’s clandestine service in 2004 and 2005.”)

2005 October 31 —   CIA General Counsel John Rizzo raised concerns that a congressional proposal for an independent commission to investigate detainee abuse “would serve to surface the tapes’ existence,” and suggested trying to get permission from the CIA director to destroy them.

2005 November 4 — After the Washington Post broke the ‘CIA Thailand black site’ story, Thaksin issued heated denials and briefly threatened to sue the newspaper, according to a leaked State Department cable.

2005 November 9 — Jose Rodriguez writes: “The field (CIA station in Thailand?) sent in a cable reporting that the shredder had done its work.

2005 November 10 — CIA email appears to refer to Haspel’s role in the tapes destruction

2008 – 2011 — Chief of Station, Europe Division. Haspel serves as the CIA’s Station Chief in London. Prestigious position traditionally held by very senior CIA officers. (Vaughn Bishop from 2007 to 2009, and later by Timothy Buch until Haspel.)

2011 – 2013 — Haspel serves as the CIA’s Station Chief in New York

2011 – 2012 — Chief of Station, Classified Location (CIA Timeline)

2012 – 2012 — DDNCS for Foreign Intelligence and Covert Action (CIA Timeline)

2012 – 2014 Deputy Director of the National Clandestine Service (“DDNCS”) (CIA Timeline)

2013 — (February 28, 2013 – May 7, 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. Francis Archibald — Former COS in Malaysia and Pakistan — is picked to run the NCS.

2013 – 2017 — Haspel is back in London as Chief of Station

2017 February 8 — Haspel is named Deputy Director of CIA

2018 March 13 — Gina Haspel named by Trump to be CIA director, replacing Mike Pompeo, who will replace Tillerson at State

2018 May 9 — Haspel is scheduled to appear for her confirmation hearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee

2018 May 16 — The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee votes 10-5 in favour of  Gina Haspel as the new director of the CIA

2018 May 17 — The US Senate votes (54-45) in favor of Trump’s nominee. Gina Haspel — 61-year-old veteran of the agency’s clandestine services — will be the first woman to head the Central Intelligence Agency.

2018 May 21— Gina Haspel is sworn in as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the former CIA chief, attend the ceremony.

2018 September 24 — CIA Director Gina Haspel gave a speech at her Alma Mater — the University of Louisville

2018 October 20 —  The Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Society presented DCIA Haspel with the William J. Donovan Award

2018 October 22 — Haspel travels to Turkey to discuss the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Kaggoshi

2019 January 29 — 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. [Duckgate]

2019 April 18 — CIA Director Gina Haspel visits Auburn University in Alabama, where she delivered remarks and participated in a Q&A moderated by retired Army Lt. Gen. Ronald Burgess, Auburn’s chief operating officer and former DIA director.

2020 February 4 — CIA’s Haspel applauds during Trump’s State of the Union speech. 

2020 June 29 — D/CIA Statement on Impact of Unauthorized Disclosures on Force Protection

2020 September — CIA Director Gina Haspel is reportedly keeping a tight lock on Russian intelligence. Nine current and former officials tell Politico that Haspel “has become extremely cautious about which, if any, Russia-related intelligence products make their way to President Donald Trump’s desk.” She has also reportedly been cracking down on the agency’s “Russia House,” which produces intelligence on the country — but exactly why she’s doing so is up for debate.

2020 October — According to anonymous sources, Haspel does not believe that Russia is responsible for the attacks against US diplomats in Cuba. [Havana Syndrome]

2020 October — According to anonymous sources, Haspel plans to step down after the US election.

The Tip of the Spear: From Virginia Hall to Gina Haspel 

On Saturday October 20 2018, the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Society presented DCIA Gina Haspel with the William J. Donovan Award in recognition of her service to the United States of America. For the occasion, the OSS Society has posted a very interesting short documentary: “The Tip of the Spear: From Virginia Hall to Gina Haspel”

The purpose of the award is to recognize someone who has exemplified the distinguishing features that characterized General Donovan’s lifetime of public service to the United States as a citizen and soldier.

Director Haspel is only the second woman and ninth CIA Director to be bestowed with this honor. In its introduction of Director Haspel, the OSS Society showed a film that honored the impact and influence of women in the OSS, who paved the way for Director Haspel to lead the CIA.

In her acceptance speech, the Director highlighted the achievements of America’s intelligence officers, including US efforts in the wake of the 9/11 attacks and the operation to track down Usama bin Ladin.

In accepting the Donovan Award, the Director acknowledged and thanked the men and women of the CIA who came before her and those who serve today. [CIA website]

This is a very short biopic of Gina Haspel (After an interesting introduction, the part regarding Haspel starts at the 7:20 mark.)

REFERENCES

DCIA Haspel Presented with the 2018 William J. Donovan Award — CIA Website

A Look Back … Gen. William J. Donovan Heads Office of Strategic Services — CIA Website

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DCIA — Gina Haspel Presented with the 2018 William J. Donovan Award [Biography]

RUMINT — DCIA Gina Haspel to Step Down After Election [Biography]

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