President Donald Trump made a rare visit to CIA headquarters on Monday to deliver remarks at incoming director Gina Haspel's swearing-in ceremony and expressed his optimism for the agency's future under her leadership.
President Donald Trump, who attended the swearing in ceremony, took to Twitter just hours earlier to criticize the former CIA Director John Brennan. "There is no one in this country better qualified for this extraordinary office than you. She is strong. And when it comes to defending America, Gina will never, ever back down", Trump said.
Until recently, nearly nothing was known about Haspel, even after she rose to the top of the Central Intelligence Agency in 2013 and then became deputy Central Intelligence Agency director previous year.
"It has been almost 50 years since an operations officer rose up through the ranks to become the director, and after the experience of the last two months I think I know why that is", Ms. Haspel said, drawing laughs from the crowd at Langley.More news: Iran Threatens to Punch Mike Pompeo in the Mouth
During a short speech after being sworn in, Haspel told the audience, "I would be remiss if I did not also note the tremendous pride I take in being the first woman to serve as director", continuing by thanking the women who came before her in the agency.
In a rare quip, Haspel on Monday also acknowledged the difficulty of navigating her own confirmation battle.
"That's big", Trump said. "Now Gina will lead this agency into its next great chapter". "And after the last few months, I know why that is", she says, referring to her tough confirmation process.More news: 'Weird, odd, a dumpster fire': Trump's North Korea summit coin ridiculed
But he spent much of his remarks at the time focused on settling scores with the media.
"We are reasserting American strength and American confidence".
In a tweet on Sunday, Trump demanded the Department of Justice investigate whether the Federal Bureau of Investigation "infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes" and whether it was ordered by the Obama administration.
Haspel was confirmed by the Senate last week in a 54-45 vote, despite the deep reservations of some lawmakers about her past involvement in the torture of terror suspects in the post-9/11 era.More news: GE Transportation reaches agreement to merge with Wabtec
The Monday morning tweets by the president followed a weekend in which Trump angrily complained about reports that the investigation into his campaign's contacts with Russian Federation relied in part on confidential informants.