CIA Director Gina Haspel — the first woman to ever head the intelligence agency — has appointed Cynthia "Didi" Rapp as the agency's deputy director for analysis. While Rapp isn't the first female to serve as deputy director of the CIA's Directorate of Analysis, her recent appointment has helped women break a major barrier at the CIA. According to NBC News, three of the CIA's top directorates are now headed by women — reportedly for the first time ever.
Rapp's appointment follows Elizabeth Kimber's appointment as deputy director for operations in early December. According to The Hill, Kimbers is the first woman to ever head the CIA's Directorate of Operations. Rounding out leadership at the CIA is Dawn Meyerriecks, who has served as deputy director the CIA's Directorate of Science and Technology since 2013.
Indeed, the CIA may be well ahead of some other government agencies when it comes gender equality in the work force. In 2013, NBC News reported that women made up nearly half of the CIA's total workforce. What's more, women were serving in a variety of positions within the intelligence agency.
At the time of NBC News' report, women reportedly comprised 47 percent of the CIA's intelligence analysts, 40 percent of undercover operatives, and 59 percent of support staff tasked with handling security, communications, safe houses, and more.
Still, Haspel's appointment as head of the CIA hasn't been without controversy. In fact, Haspel was considered to be a controversial pick when President Donald Trump named her as his choice to replace Mike Pompeo (who he'd chosen to replaced outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson) in March due to her role in a Bush-era torture program.
According to CNBC, Haspel ran a so-called "black site," where suspected terrorists were detained extrajudicially and tortured under the Bush administration, in Thailand in the early 2000s. However, it's worth noting that ProPublica retracted a report alleging that Haspel oversaw the controversial torture of suspected al-Qaida leader Abu Zubaydah. While ProPublica retracted its claim that Haspel oversaw Zubaydah's torture, it claimed she did encourage officials above her to destroy recordings of it. Bustle has reached out to the CIA for comment.
Around the time ProPublica issued its redaction, the CIA's director of public affairs, Dean Boyd, issued a statement in which he said it was "important to note that [Haspel] has spent nearly her entire CIA career undercover," the news outlet reported. "Much of what is in the public domain about her is inaccurate," Boyd continued.
But according to CBS News, however, Haspel isn't just filling top-level CIA posts with women — she's filling them with long-serving experienced intelligence insiders. "Seldom in history have the agency's most senior ranks been filled with as many CIA veterans and insiders," CBS News reported.
"It's unfortunate we still have to talk about gender, because it's not really relevant to the quality of the work – it's relevant to the diversity of the work," former CIA Deputy Director of Intelligence Carmen Medina told the news outlet. "But I think she's very brave for appointing so many women," Medina said of Haspel. "She doesn't have to do that, and the fact that she is doing it is kind of awesome."