May 21 (UPI) -- After weeks of criticisms aimed at her candidacy, Gina Haspel was sworn in Monday as the CIA's first permanent female director during a ceremony attended by President Donald Trump.
"Gina, there is no one in this country better qualified for this extraordinary office," Trump said at the ceremony.
"Throughout her historic career at this agency, Gina has truly done it all," he added, saying Haspel is "tough" and will "never back down" in defending the United States.
After she was sworn in, Haspel said the CIA must constantly "learn, adjust, improve and strive to be better."
"It has been nearly 50 years since an operations officer rose up through the ranks to become the director, and after the experience of the last two months, I think I know why that is."
Haspel, who joined the CIA in 1985, won Senate confirmation last week by a vote of 54-45 after intense opposition over concerns about her role in decades of CIA interrogations.
Haspel replaces Mike Pompeo as CIA chief, who took over for Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.