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Women now run top three CIA departments for first time in history

Agency chief Gina Haspel aids rise of the ‘sisterhood’ within organisation dominated by men for much of its 70-year history

Tom Embury-Dennis
Sunday 06 January 2019 17:24 GMT
Gina Haspel, director of the CIA
Gina Haspel, director of the CIA (AP)

The CIA’s first female director has appointed Cynthia “Didi” Rapp as deputy director for analysis, meaning the top three departments of the agency are, for the first time ever, all run by women.

Gina Haspel, who was appointed last year by Donald Trump to run the intelligence agency, had already named Elizabeth Kimber in December as the first woman to head the operations directorate.

They have joined Dawn Meyerriecks, who is the long-term deputy director for science and technology.

The rise of the “sisterhood” – as a crew of female CIA analysts who helped track down Osasa bin Laden were known – to the most senior roles in the agency comes after NBC reported almost half the entire workforce is now female.

Just 23 years ago, there were no women in senior positions, according to the US broadcaster.

“Didi Rapp brings broad, deep expertise from across the agency and the intelligence community to her new role as the head of our Directorate of Analysis,” said Brittany Bramell, CIA director of public affairs.

“With her engaging leadership style and reputation for objectivity, Didi will excel in leading our talented analytic cadre.”

Ms Rapp, a Middle East expert, had been the CIA’s director of public affairs under David Petraeus before initially becoming deputy executive director under Ms Haspel.

Gina Haspel hearing interrupted by an anti torture protestor yelling bloody gina

Ms Kimber, like Ms Haspel a 34-year veteran of the agency, is the first ever women to take charge of the CIA’s global spy network. Perhaps unsurprisingly, there is little public information about her available online.

According to Ms Meyerrieks’ LinkedIn page, the deputy director of science and technology used to work for Nasa as a project manager, before moving into roles within government at the Defense Information Systems Agency and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Ms Haspel was promoted from deputy director to the chief position by Mr Trump last year following the departure of Mike Pompeo, who became the US secretary of state.

Her appointment was mired in controversy following her role as chief of a CIA secret site in Thailand in which prisoners were tortured, most notoriously by waterboarding.

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