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By Robert Windrem
The CIA Director Gina Haspel has named Beth Kimber to lead the Agency’s Operational Directorate, which means Kimber becomes the first woman to run the Agency’s vast network of spies around the world.
Kimber, 56, a European and Russian expert, had recently been the head of Europe and the Eurasia Mission Center. She previously served as Deputy Chief of National Clandestine Service, which the directorate was previously known. She also served as acting deputy chief of the CIA earlier this year while Haspel was confirmed.
Brittany Bramell, CIA Director General, confirmed the election.
Beth Kimber via LinkedIn
Said Bramell, “With nearly 34 years of experience and proven ability to deliver with an impact on CIA’s operational mission, Beth Kimber will be an exceptional leader for our operations directorate.”
“She is a highly competent professional, highly experienced operational affiliate. Someone I would rely on difficult assignments that require careful judgment,” added John McLaughlin, who served as both deputy chief and acting chief of the CIA and is now an analyst from NBC News.
Kimber is one of two women named senior executives since Haspel, a 34-year-old veterinary veterinarian, was sworn in after a controversial confirmation process in May. The other is Sonya Holt, named Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer in August.
The CIA labor force is now almost 50 percent women. Under John Brennan, who served as President Obama’s CIA Director, women held five of the top eight positions in the Office, led by Avril Haines, Brennan’s deputy.
McLaughlin said that the introduction of women in top positions has been a priority over the past decade.
“The agency has worked for a while to increase diversity across the board, especially in key leadership positions – sees this as a business need in a job that succeeds or fail with the ability to consider issues from all angles,” McLaughlin added.
Kimber is a graduate of Hamilton College in Clinton, New York, where she is a major in French and history.