The announcement that President Donald Trump nominated CIA Deputy Director Gina Haspel to replace CIA Director Mike Pompeo was a historic first for women.
Haspel was appointed to her current position by Trump on Feb. 2, 2017, and was the first woman to serve as deputy director.
According to CBS News, she's served as chief of station at outposts abroad and held 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.
The New York Times reported Haspel was passed over to head the Central Intelligence Agency's National Clandestine Service when Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) blocked her promotion due to her role in torturing prisoners and destroying videotapes.
According to The New York Times, torture sessions at a detention site in Thailand were recorded but were destroyed in 2005. Haspel's name was reportedly on the cable carrying the order to destroy the tapes, but the agency said the order was actually made by her boss, Jose Rodriguez.
Although her role in the torture program sparked speculation that the agency would be returning to the controversial interrogation methods, a CIA spokesperson told CBS News it was all about “putting in place the best person for the job.”
“Gina Haspel, the Deputy Director of the CIA, will be nominated to replace Director Pompeo and she will be the CIA's first-ever female director, a historic milestone,” Trump said in a statement to The Washington Post. “Mike and Gina have worked together for more than a year, and have developed a great mutual respect.”
In a statement of her own, Haspel said after her 30-year-career as a CIA officer, she was honored to serve as deputy director and is grateful and humbled by Trump's confidence and nomination.
To assume the position, Haspel will have to be confirmed by the Senate.