Donald Trump announced on Twitter early Tuesday that he is removing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson from his administration, a move that follows almost a year of tension between the president and his top diplomat.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorised to speak publicly.
Mr Tillerson also won few plaudits from career diplomats for his performance at the State Department.
Trump also announced that he picked the CIA's deputy director, Gina Haspel, to replace Pompeo as head of the agency.
Tillerson had just returned from a shortened trip to Africa hours before Mr. Trump's announcement.
Additional questions to be answered: What will the Trump administration and USA allies South Korea and Japan offer to North Korea if it is willing to denuclearize? The two also disagreed on whether the USA should remain part of the Iran deal brokered in 2015 to stop the country's development of nuclear weapons.
This morning's tweet from Donald Trump confirming the sacking caught many people by surprise.
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"With Mike, Mike Pompeo, we have a very similar thought process". But Tillerson continued to hang on, pointing out that his doubters had yet to be proven right. "The Secretary did not speak to the President this morning and is unaware of the reason, but he is grateful for the opportunity to serve".
"Congratulations to all!" the president said. The president plans to nominate CIA Director Mike Pompeo to replace him.
Tillerson also appeared out of the loop last week when Trump announced he would meet with North Korea's leader and become the first sitting USA president to do so. "A great deal has been accomplished over the last fourteen months, and I wish him and his family well".
The Cabinet reshuffle comes as Trump sets out to hold talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in a high-wire diplomatic gamble.
Here is a partial list of officials who have been fired or quit since Trump took office on January 20, 2017, as well as people nominated by him for a position who did not take the job. The Post's Gearan, Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker reported on October 4 that "the already tense relationship between the two headstrong men - one a billionaire former real estate developer, the other a former captain of the global oil industry - has ruptured into what some White House officials call an irreparable breach that will inevitably lead to Tillerson's departure, whether immediately or not". Most pressing of all: what to do about North Korea? "I would certainly trust the president and my comments far above those of other reporters". Paid $27.3 million a year ago, Tillerson has accumulated roughly $160 million in Exxon stock along with $149 million of unvested stock options, according a proxy statement the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The president and his surrogates consistently criticized reports that Tillerson would not last long - reports that now appear to have been well-founded. Scaramucci resigned after just 10 days, amid a spate of departures that included White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and, less than a month later, chief strategist Steve Bannon.
He added, "In my time as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, I have worked alongside many remarkable Foreign Service officers and Department of State leaders serving here in the United States and on the very edge of freedom".