June 8 2022 — Here is a short biography of Gina Haspel based on information available in the public domain. Follow us on Twitter: @INTEL_TODAY
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UPDATE (June 8 2020) — 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
Glenn Carle, a former undercover CIA operative who was involved in interrogating a suspected al Qaeda detainee, described her as “one of the architects, designers, implementers and one of the top two managers of the [CIA interrogation program].”
Former CIA general counsel John Rizzo, in his book, “A Company Man,” describes Haspel as having “run the [CIA] interrogation program.” [The Hill]
Her involvement in drafting orders to destroy videotapes of harsh interrogation techniques is undisputable. It is reported in the book “Hard Measures,” by Jose Rodriguez, her boss in the agency at the time, and former CIA spokesman Bill Harlow.
Rizzo also says in his book that Rodriguez and Haspel were “the staunchest advocates inside the [CIA] for destroying the tapes.”
Rodriguez, in his book, “Hard Measures,” says that Haspel drafted the order, which Rodriguez signed even though Rizzo says he had told him not to do so without approval. [The Hill]
However, according to Robert Richer — a former associate deputy director of operations for the CIA — who was present for meetings among CIA senior staff when the tapes were discussed, the role of Gina Haspel may not be so clear-cut.
“Haspel provided rationale both for and against the destruction of the tapes to our mutual boss, the head of the clandestine service. She was as impartial, fair and balanced as anyone could be in those discussions.
It was only after two CIA lawyers assured us that the destruction of the tapes was both within the authority of the head of the clandestine service and completely legal that our boss, Jose Rodriguez, made the decision to order the tapes shredded. That was Rodriguez’s decision — but one I fully supported then and now.” [Washington Post]
You will notice that this version of the events by Robert Richer does not square with the recollection of Former CIA general counsel John Rizzo.
Last week, The New York Times confirmed that Gina Haspel personally observed the torture of Saudi prisoner Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in 2002, when she oversaw a CIA black site in Thailand.
That’s according to recent testimony to a Guantánamo Bay military court by CIA psychologist James Mitchell, who’s been identified as an “architect” of the CIA’s torture program.
Mitchell testified that Haspel watched as interrogators repeatedly slammed al-Nashiri’s head into a wall, forced him into a small confinement box and subjected him to “waterboarding” by immobilizing him, placing a rag over his mouth and pouring water over it.
END of UPDATE
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.
2021 January 19 — a CIA tweet announces that CIA Director Gina Haspel had resigned.
2021 July — 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.
2022 June — The New York Times confirms that Gina Haspel personally observed the torture of Saudi prisoner Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri in 2002, when she oversaw a CIA black site in Thailand.
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.)
DCIA — Gina Haspel Presented with the 2018 William J. Donovan Award [Biography]
RUMINT — DCIA Gina Haspel to Step Down After Election [Biography]
CIA Director — A Biography of Gina Haspel [UPDATE : Haspel Personally Observed Torture at Secret CIA Black Site]