Trump selected career CIA official Gina Haspel in an administration shake-up announced today in which the president replaced Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with current CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
Haspel has been serving as deputy CIA director since February 2017.
She is a career intelligence officer who joined the CIA in 1985.
Haspel, who once oversaw the CIA prison in Thailand where terror suspects were waterboarded, must be confirmed by the Senate before she can take over the position as the nation's top spy.
Before leaving the White House this morning on a trip to California, Trump praised Haspel, who has received numerous honors for her work at the CIA, including the George H.W. Bush Award for excellence in counterterrorism.
"Gina ... who I've worked very closely [with], will be director of CIA," Trump told reporters. "She's an outstanding person who I've gotten to know very well. I've gotten to know a lot of people very well over the last year. I'm really at a point where I'm close to having the cabinet and other things that I want."