Newly sworn-in CIA Director Gina Haspel says she wants to send more officers into the field, improve foreign language proficiency among the ranks and strengthen the agency’s working relationships with intelligence agencies in partner nations.
Haspel was sworn in as the CIA’s first female director on Monday. U.S. President Donald Trump, who was also there, said there was “no one in this country better qualified” for the job.
Her nomination was fraught with conflict because of her past role in the CIA’s harsh detention and interrogation of terror suspects after 9/11. Her supporters cited her three decades of experience at the spy agency. Her critics complained that nobody who was a part of that program should be promoted to the top job.
Trump tapped the 61-year-old Kentucky native to lead the nation’s premier intelligence agency after he nominated then-CIA Director Mike Pompeo to succeed Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.
Striking a different tone from his previous visit to the VIA headquarters, Trump also hailed the agency staffers, calling them the “most elite intelligence professionals on the planet.”
WATCH: Gina Haspel promises not to restart harsh CIA interrogation program
Trump slams former CIA director
Hours before Trump went to the swearing-in ceremony, he took to Twitter and criticized former CIA Director John Brennan, suggesting he is to blame for the Russia probe.
Trump referenced comments from conservative commentator Dan Bogino on “Fox and Friends,” which argued that Brennan “started this entire debacle.” Bagino, a former Secret Service agent, also said Brennan had “disgraced the intelligence community.”
Brennan became the agency’s director in 2013 under President Barack Obama and served until January 2017. He has been a vocal critic of Trump.