Greg Myre

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When President Trump shakes hands with Kim Jong Un on Tuesday morning, it will mark the first time that a sitting U.S. president comes face to face with a North Korean leader. Trump once dubbed Kim "Little Rocket Man" and threatened "fire and fury" against his regime, but has expressed optimism about a potential deal with North Korea on denuclearization. "I just think it's going to work out very nicely," he said Monday. But he has also said he is prepared to walk away from the table if talks are not fruitful.

When Mike Pompeo became CIA director last year, he immediately set his sights on North Korea and its opaque nuclear program.

"Within weeks of me coming here, I created a Korea Mission Center, stood it up with a senior leader who had just retired, brought him back to run the organization," Pompeo said in January.

The White House has nominated Navy Adm. Harry Harris to be the U.S. ambassador to South Korea, filling a key post that's been vacant for the first 16 months of the Trump presidency.

The Senate on Thursday confirmed Gina Haspel as CIA director, making her the first woman to lead the spy agency, despite the controversy surrounding her role in the waterboarding program.

The Senate vote of 54-45 in favor of Haspel came mostly along party lines. She needed support from several Democratic senators to win confirmation.

The Senate intelligence committee voted 10-5 Wednesday to recommend Gina Haspel as CIA director despite the controversy surrounding her role in the agency's waterboarding program.

The full Senate now appears all but certain to confirm Haspel within the next week or so, which would make her the first woman to lead the CIA.

Her confirmation also would complete President Trump's recent shakeup of his national security and foreign policy teams.

Updated at 3:15 p.m. ET

The Pentagon said Thursday that an investigation into the deaths of four American soldiers in Niger last year found "individual, organizational and institutional failures." But it said no sole reason was responsible for the ambush.

Gina Haspel's appearance before the Senate intelligence committee on Wednesday promises to be a very unusual confirmation hearing.

Most every nominee for a top government job has a long public record that is open for scrutiny. Not so with Haspel, who would be the first woman to lead the CIA.

When Michael Hayden ran the CIA and the National Security Agency, his public comments were largely confined to congressional testimony. Now that he's retired, "I'm on Twitter and I'm on CNN," said Hayden.

He was also the featured guest as dozens of former national security officials and several current ones spoke at a recent conference on threats the U.S. faces.

This story was originally published on Oct. 20, 2017, and is being republished with minor changes to update.

When U.S. troops were ambushed in Niger last October, the widespread reaction was surprise: The U.S. has military forces in Niger? What are they doing there?

The Pentagon has started briefing the families of four soldiers killed in an ambush in Niger last October, and the military acknowledges a series of missteps contributed to the deaths, one family member told NPR.

"I think in any instance where people lose there lives, there were obviously mistakes that were made," said Will Wright, the brother of one of those killed, Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright. Will Wright is himself a combat veteran, having served as a staff sergeant in Afghanistan. He and his family were briefed by military officers on Thursday.

John Brennan's tenure as CIA director ended the same day that President Trump entered office last year, and since then, the former spy chief has been a relentless critic of the president.

"I think he is dishonest, he lacks integrity, he has very questionable ethics and morality, and he views the world through a prism of 'how it's going to help Donald Trump?,' " Brennan said in a wide-ranging interview with All Things Considered.

"I just think that he has not fulfilled the responsibilities of the president of the United States," Brennan added.

Gina Haspel, the first woman nominated to lead the CIA, has a five-foot-tall poster of Johnny Cash in her office. She's an avid University of Kentucky basketball fan — though she transferred from that school and graduated from the rival University of Louisville. She majored in journalism.

President Trump likes Mike Pompeo.

Trump's decision to dispatch Pompeo for a secret meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is the latest and most dramatic demonstration of how the president keeps elevating Pompeo's role.

In a turbulent administration, Trump has dismissed several top national security and foreign policy advisers, including former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. The president has nominated Pompeo, the CIA director, to replace Tillerson.

Updated at 8:40 p.m. ET

President Trump signed a proclamation Wednesday for the deployment of National Guard troops along the Southern border with Mexico in a bid to cut down on illegal immigration.

Kirstjen Nielsen, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said earlier in the day that Trump's order would direct her department and the Pentagon to work with governors of the states along the Southwestern border.

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