Controversial officer passed over for CIA spy chief post
May 7th, 2013
05:55 PM ET

Controversial officer passed over for CIA spy chief post

By Pam Benson

The undercover officer temporarily running the CIA's spy division who had ties to the agency's controversial interrogation program will not get the job permanently.

CIA Director John Brennan said on Tuesday the first female to lead the National Clandestine Service will be replaced by a man, a nearly 30-year veteran who served covertly overseas, including a stint as station chief in Pakistan.

The identities of these undercover officials were not made public.

Whether the acting director would get to keep the job was in question due to opposition from a number of senior lawmakers concerned about her ties to the CIA's controversial interrogation and detention program.

After the September 11, 2001, attack, sources familiar with her career said she was assigned to the CIA's Counter Terrorism Center, where she was involved in the effort to track down and capture suspected al Qaeda terrorists.

She moved to the clandestine unit as chief of staff when her boss at the time, Jose Rodriguez, was tapped to run the service in 2004.

According to the sources, the two were involved in a decision to destroy 92 videos of interrogations at overseas clandestine prisons that involved the use of harsh techniques on some of the terror detainees including waterboarding and stress positions.

The destruction infuriated many members of Congress who believe the techniques were torture and prompted a Justice Department investigation that did not result in charges.

Brennan faced stiff questions about the interrogation program at his confirmation hearing in March. Now as CIA director, he is responsible for providing the agency's response to a 6,000 page Senate Intelligence Committee report that concluded the CIA exaggerated how effective those interrogations were in providing actionable intelligence.

Brennan took the unusual step of asking three former senior CIA officials to review the candidates for the head of the clandestine service, which included the well-respected interim director.

Critics suggested he was looking for political cover because of the interrogation controversy.

CIA spokesman Todd Ebitz denied the acting director's counter terrorism efforts played a role in the decision to name someone else to run the clandestine service.

"The assertion she was not chosen because of her affiliation with the CT mission is absolutely not true," Ebitz said.

In addition to the new NCS Director, Brennan named a minority officer to serve for the first time as the third-ranking officer at the agency. Meroe Park will be the executive director running the day to day activities of the CIA.

Deb Bonk also has been tapped to be Brennan's chief of staff.

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Filed under: Brennan • Central Intelligence Agency • CIA • Congress • Intelligence • Security Brief • Terrorism
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Rina Room

    Hi there just wanted to give you a quick heads up. The words in your post seem to be running off the screen in Internet explorer. I'm not sure if this is a format issue or something to do with internet browser compatibility but I figured I'd post to let you know. The design and style look great though! Hope you get the problem solved soon. Many thanks

    August 8, 2013 at 5:36 pm | Reply
  2. JENNIFER PAGAN

    FIND MY PAY MAYBE THAT PARALLEL WILL MYSTERIOUSLY REAPPEAR! JENNIFER

    May 8, 2013 at 8:58 pm | Reply
  3. JENNIFER PAGAN

    WE HAVENT REALLY MET YET! SINCE YOUR SO BUSY TALKING ABOUT HOW GOOD OF A JOB I DO, GO FIND MY PAY NOW-MR. BRENNAN SO I CAN GET BACK TO WORK! SENATOR JENNIFER PAGAN US GUAM

    May 8, 2013 at 8:55 pm | Reply
  4. redated

    i agree with mike-stop politizing cia. stop politizing the intel. community alltogeather. some things the public does not have a need to know,nor the right. americas' foes cheer this type of stuff,surly spend big to help it happen.

    May 8, 2013 at 8:22 pm | Reply
  5. Capt Nemo

    Once and for all, let's put to rest the lie that torture works or develops anything but useless intelligence: "a 6,000 page Senate Intelligence Committee report that concluded the CIA exaggerated how effective those interrogations were in providing actionable intelligence."

    May 8, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Reply
  6. Mike

    Ridiculous. That program had the full endorsement of the government at the time and she was cleared of any wrongdoing. Stop politicizing the CIA. If you disqualify people for performing job related duties in their time on the job, you wind up with a bunch of political plants and incompetents that have no idea how to run the department.

    May 8, 2013 at 1:25 pm | Reply

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