CIA Director Nominee — Gina Haspel Career Timeline

“Ms. Haspel is not an undercover operative, she’s the deputy CIA director seeking a Cabinet-level position. It’s unacceptable for the CIA to hide her behind a wall of secrecy, particularly when such secrecy is unnecessary to protect national security.”

Senators Wyden,  Heinrich, and Feinstein

“The CIA’s timeline on Gina Haspel leaves a little something lacking… namely any details at all.”

Human Rights First

May 2 2018 — On Tuesday, the CIA has released a few additional details about the 33-year career of Gina Haspel. The result is not just disappointing. The document is actually revealing a few tricks used by the spooks to promote “their girl”. Follow us on Twitter: @Intel_Today

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The new document will hardly calm the many critics of Gina Haspel as it reveals nothing new regarding her work in the immediate aftermath of the September 11th attacks when she was working in the CIA Counter-Terrorism Center. But let us focus, for now, on what the CIA actually tells us.

Silly — The CIA makes references, time and again, to her assignments in a “classified location” or simply does not say where the location was. These posts are already well know: Addis Abeba (Ethiopia), Baku (Azerbaijan), Ankara (Turkey) and  New York! Is it not silly?

Contradictory — The timeline is also puzzling when compared to previous statement made by former officers in support of her confirmation. Here is a good example.

“I supervised Gina Haspel when I worked at the Central Intelligence Agency. I found her to be smart, tough and effective,” wrote Robert Baer.

Baer — an Arabist with expertize in the Middle-East — worked field assignments, starting in Madras and New Delhi, India; and subsequently in Beirut, Lebanon; Damascus, Syria; Khartoum, Sudan; Paris, France; Dushanbe, Tajikistan; Morocco; the former republic of Yugoslavia, and Salah al-Din in Iraqi Kurdistan during his twenty-one years with the CIA. ( See Wikipedia )

When Baer left the Agency in 1997, Haspel was Chief of Station in Baku, Azerbaijan. So he certainly was not her supervisor in Baku. (He never worked there anyway.)

Haspel’s first overseas assignment as a case officer was in Addis Abeba, Ethiopia, where Baer never worked.

And in between these two posts, Haspel took some language classes and worked in Ankara, Turkey. Again, Baer has never worked in Turkey.

So, the question is rather simple: Where, and when, exactly has Robert Baer supervised Gina Haspel?

Misleading — The CIA released timeline reads:

2012 – 2012 — DDNCS for Foreign Intelligence and Covert Action (CIA Timeline)

2012 – 2014 Deputy Director of the National Clandestine Service (“DDNCS”) (CIA Timeline)

This may or may not true! But this information is certainly misleading. Haspel was the “acting Director of the National Clandestine Service”, which carries out covert operations around the globe, between February 28 2013 and May 7 2013.

Haspel 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 — was picked to run the NCS.

I believe that Haspel was back in London as Chief of Station soon after the appointment of Francis Archibald. If I am correct, the timeline was “embellished” to show s smooth and stable career evolution. That would be grossly misleading considering the current debate over her nomination.

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

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 de 2007 à 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

REFERENCES

CIA Director nominee Gina Haspel: CIA releases timeline of her clandestine career — CBS News

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CIA Director Nominee — Gina Haspel Career Timeline

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