President Donald Trump picked Gina Haspel as the deputy director of the CIA, making her the second woman to hold the position. She will be second in command behind Mike Pompeo, who made the announcement Thursday on Haspel's new role, which does not require Senate confirmation.

Haspel's selection drew praise from former senior intelligence officials, with ex-National Intelligence Director James Clapper saying: “[Haspel] has the broad-gauged experience from both foreign and domestic assignments to serve as the right-arm for Director [Mike] Pompeo.”

Mike Morrell, a former deputy director and former acting director at CIA, said in a statement: "She is widely respected throughout the agency and she will be welcomed in the new job by both current and former employees. I worked closely with Haspel from 2006 until my retirement from the Agency in 2013. During that time, I found her to be simply exceptional. She gets things done in a quiet, yet effective way, and she is calm under fire."

Haspel, 61, joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1985, and spent most of her career undercover. She has been part of several controversies, including her involvement in several torture programs conducted by the U.S. She also ran waterboarding and other interrogation techniques at some of CIA's "black sites" or secret prisons.

While Haspel's pick as the CIA's deputy director received some praise, concerns were also raised about the restart of CIA’s use of torture techniques, which Congress has since outlawed.

In an interview last month with ABC News, Trump said that he believes waterboarding works and would think about reinstating it.

“I will rely on [CIA Director Mike Pompeo] and [Defense Secretary James Mattis] and my group. And if they don’t want to do, that’s fine. If they do want to do, then I will work toward that end. I want to do everything within the bounds of what you're allowed to do legally,” Trump said.

Here are five facts about Haspel:

  1. Haspel has been linked to the CIA’s "enhanced" interrogation program, which was highlighted in the 6,000-page report by the Senate Intelligence Committee detailing the agency’s use of techniques widely considered as torture.
  2. In 2002, she ran a CIA prison in Thailand where terror suspects were waterboarded and underwent other interrogation techniques.
  3. She oversaw brutal interrogations of two detainees, Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, at the black site in Thailand.
  4. Haspel's name was in the cable carrying the orders to destroy video tapes of the sessions carried out at the CIA station in Thailand.
  5. She was also the chief of staff to Jose Rodriguez, who headed the CIA's Counterterrorism Center.

cia The CIA symbol is shown on the floor of CIA Headquarters, July 9, 2004 at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images Below are some more statements by CIA officials who have worked directly with Haspel: 

  • Charles Allen, former assistant director for collection at CIA: “As a CIA officer of 47 years, I can say without reservation that Gina Haspel has my strongest support in her appointment as Deputy Director. A deeply experienced clandestine officer who has held senior positions both at home and abroad, Ms. Haspel is not only an outstanding operations officer, but also a recognized program manager and an exceptional leader.  She has selflessly dedicated her life to the Agency and to the security of the nation.  CIA officers and Intelligence Community leaders writ large will applaud her selection.”
  • Fran Moore, former director for intelligence at CIA: “Gina Haspel is an outstanding choice for Deputy Director. She is a seasoned, collaborative officer of great integrity who will be a tremendous partner for Director Pompeo in leading CIA.”
  • Mike Rogers, former chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence: “I have had the privilege to work with Ms. Haspel during challenging and intense times for our nation’s security. She is an exceptional leader, patriot and consummate professional. She showed the savvy and grit needed in difficult situations that has garnered respect of colleagues and adversaries alike. Her commitment to the mission and rule of law are unparalleled."