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Trump participates in swearing-in of CIA Director Gina Haspel

United States President Donald J. Trump making remarks at the White House Friday, March 23, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Ron Sachs/CNP/Zuma Press/TNS)
May 21, 2018

President Donald Trump on Monday participated in the swearing-in ceremony for CIA Director Gina Haspel.

Haspel is the sixth director and the first female director of the agency after being confirmed by the U.S. Senate last week.

“You live in the CIA, you live the CIA, you breathe the CIA, and now you will lead the CIA,” the President said of Haspel.

“Gina is tough, she is strong, and Gina will never, ever back down,” Trump said.

Watch the ceremony:

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Gina Haspel as CIA director, making her the agency’s first female director.

Haspel, 61, has spent 33 years in the Central Intelligence Agnency.

She garnered enough votes this week after her nomination by President Trump was met with intense scrutiny over interrogation tactics the CIA has used in the past, and Haspel’s role in the interrogation program.

The Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday had recommended Haspel be confirmed as CIA director.

The committee voted 10 to 5 to recommend Haspel to the full Senate. Of the 100 U.S. Senators, 51 are Republicans and 49 are Democrats; while two Republicans had said they would not vote for Haspel, five Democrats have indicated they would support her nomination.

The CIA’s post-9/11 enhanced interrogation program that Haspel was involved with, as well as torture methods and waterboarding, have been contentious topics generally split along party lines. But some Democrats announced their support of Haspel on Tuesday, which indicated she would garner the Senate’s approval and be named CIA director.

She ran a black-site prison in Thailand where a high-level terrorist was detained and tortured in 2002.

Mohammed was captured in March 2003 and was kept at CIA prisons in Afghanistan and Poland. He was tortured by the CIA, including being waterboarded.

Haspel has pledged not to implement an interrogation program of that kind again.

“Having served in that tumultuous time, I can offer you my personal commitment, clearly and without reservation, that under my leadership CIA will not restart such a detention and interrogation program,” she said.