CIA paints a fuller picture of director nominee Gina Haspel's biography

Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump's pick to be CIA director, grew up on US Air Force bases overseas, is a fan of Jo...

Posted: Mar 23, 2018 10:06 AM
Updated: Mar 23, 2018 10:06 AM

Gina Haspel, President Donald Trump's pick to be CIA director, grew up on US Air Force bases overseas, is a fan of Johnny Cash and had her first day in the CIA's Counterterrorism Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

She was born in Ashland, Kentucky, the oldest of five children, is an avid Kentucky Wildcats basketball fan and dreamed of going to West Point before she ultimately embarked on a 33-year CIA career that could culminate in her becoming the first female director of the agency.

Those were some of the biographical details the CIA provided to Congress on Thursday to better introduce -- and humanize -- the nominee to senators amid opposition from some Democrats and at least one Republican for her role in the George W. Bush administration's controversial detention and interrogation program.

Haspel's biography is largely unknown because of her lengthy undercover career.

Her extended bio, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal, comes as the Trump administration and the Senate Intelligence Committee are in discussions about how much of her record should be declassified as part of the confirmation process. She's been on Capitol Hill this week making her initial rounds meeting with the committee and with senators, ahead of a confirmation process that has not been scheduled because she hasn't yet been formally nominated for the role.

Haspel's confirmation is shaping up to be a bruising fight, as senators are demanding details about her role at a "black site" in Thailand in 2002.

Haspel, who is currently deputy CIA director, was not at the black site during the brutal interrogation and waterboarding of al-Qaeda suspect Abu Zubaydah, a detail several news outlets had reported incorrectly following her nomination, but she later ran the site after he was transferred and when other prisoners were interrogated using harsh tactics critics say are torture.

Senators also want to know her role in the CIA's destruction of tapes from interrogation sessions of terrorism detainees.

Those episodes are not included in the CIA's two-page biography, which was obtained by CNN. The CIA declined to comment Thursday.

The bio emphasizes Haspel's long career of service, which began before she joined the CIA.

It says Haspel wanted to go to West Point, and her father had to tell her at the time that the Army academy did not admit women. After she graduated from the University of Louisville -- while remaining a fan of the rival Wildcats -- she worked as a contractor with the 10th Special Forces Group at Fort Devens in Massachusetts.

She then applied to join the CIA, with a love of foreign languages and a desire "to be part of something bigger than just me," the bio quotes her as saying. Her first job was as a case officer in Africa, an experience she is quoted as describing as "right out of a spy novel."

She received the George H.W. Bush Award for Excellence in Counterterrorism while working overseas when she received word that two terrorists linked to an embassy bombing were coming to the country and she put together the operation that led to their arrest.

Haspel requested a transfer to the CIA's Counterterrorism Center, the bio says, and her first day on the job was September 11, 2001. "She walked in amid the commotion, sat down at a computer, and got to work. She didn't let up for three years, often working seven days a week," the biography says.

The end of the bio mentions her affinity for Johnny Cash, noting her office has a number of overseas mementos, along with a 5-foot-tall poster of the country music legend "as a symbol of American individualism."

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 489116

Reported Deaths: 6614
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1014901592
Ramsey43327810
Dakota36619394
Anoka33496391
Washington22208262
Stearns18822202
St. Louis14887265
Scott13403107
Wright12609116
Olmsted1185990
Sherburne878574
Carver787641
Clay695588
Rice677691
Blue Earth601035
Kandiyohi581274
Crow Wing523582
Chisago501745
Otter Tail486071
Benton450990
Winona419749
Mower410831
Douglas394568
Goodhue389069
Nobles387247
Polk345063
McLeod341250
Beltrami338951
Morrison327747
Becker314842
Itasca314646
Lyon313845
Isanti309456
Steele303611
Carlton300449
Freeborn286424
Pine283216
Nicollet262441
Todd249730
Brown248237
Le Sueur238120
Mille Lacs229447
Cass221224
Waseca210417
Meeker208134
Martin190829
Wabasha18733
Roseau181017
Hubbard161041
Houston158214
Dodge15404
Renville152640
Redwood147127
Fillmore13969
Pennington138716
Chippewa136935
Cottonwood136020
Wadena131420
Faribault124917
Aitkin119133
Sibley118310
Watonwan11828
Rock116314
Kanabec108820
Pipestone101824
Yellow Medicine97717
Murray9548
Jackson94610
Swift87818
Pope8165
Marshall78615
Stevens7478
Lake74218
Clearwater72014
Lac qui Parle68716
Wilkin67711
Koochiching62111
Big Stone5173
Lincoln5122
Grant4928
Norman4798
Unassigned44768
Mahnomen4437
Kittson41021
Red Lake3615
Traverse3115
Lake of the Woods2221
Cook1190

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 337676

Reported Deaths: 5494
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk52087560
Linn19512317
Scott17167212
Black Hawk14970293
Woodbury13847214
Johnson1317075
Dubuque12450196
Dallas1022593
Pottawattamie9897146
Story965045
Warren514976
Clinton502684
Cerro Gordo501383
Webster495788
Sioux480369
Marshall465273
Des Moines428461
Muscatine426393
Buena Vista413237
Wapello4059110
Jasper387767
Plymouth368978
Lee354653
Marion341571
Jones285155
Henry279837
Bremer270555
Carroll266948
Crawford253635
Boone244330
Benton241154
Washington239547
Mahaska215746
Jackson210339
Dickinson204240
Tama203065
Kossuth198655
Delaware186240
Clay184425
Winneshiek183628
Fayette179335
Page178119
Buchanan177829
Wright174531
Hamilton173942
Cedar172723
Hardin170239
Harrison167670
Clayton160254
Butler159331
Mills148520
Floyd148141
Poweshiek148030
Cherokee146236
Lyon145741
Allamakee144848
Madison143218
Iowa140723
Hancock138030
Grundy132430
Winnebago130531
Calhoun129611
Cass129651
Jefferson128634
Appanoose123247
Louisa122644
Mitchell120740
Chickasaw119915
Union119331
Sac118818
Shelby117634
Emmet115340
Humboldt113725
Franklin109719
Guthrie109628
Palo Alto101721
Howard99722
Unassigned9720
Montgomery96936
Clarke95120
Keokuk92429
Monroe90028
Ida81832
Adair81630
Pocahontas80919
Davis76623
Monona76527
Greene73110
Lucas72221
Osceola68315
Worth6678
Taylor64112
Decatur5719
Fremont5619
Van Buren53718
Ringgold50620
Audubon4759
Wayne47221
Adams3194
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Clear
47° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 32°
Feels Like: 44°
Mason City
Clear
46° wxIcon
Hi: 62° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 40°
Albert Lea
Partly Cloudy
45° wxIcon
Hi: 61° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 41°
Austin
Partly Cloudy
43° wxIcon
Hi: 60° Lo: 34°
Feels Like: 39°
Charles City
Partly Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 33°
Feels Like: 34°
Kicking off the workweek with warmer temperatures
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

Mary Kristin Scott PKG

Image

Tailgate service

Image

Fewer babies being born

Image

Sara's Sunday Night Forecast

Image

Blooming Prairie GBB PKG

Image

Sara's Saturday Night Forecast

Image

Olmsted County Fair asks for help from lawmakers

Image

RPU energy saving tips

Image

Officials hold roundtable on "reskilling" Minnesota's workforce

Image

Sen. Smith calls for COVID-19 relief bill to ensure vaccines are completely free for all

Community Events