CIA Director John Brennan is postponing the permanent appointment of the first woman to head the agency's clandestine service, apparently because of her involvement in detentions and interrogations following the Sept. 11 2001 terrorist attacks.
The woman, whose name has not been made public because she also works undercover, has been the acting director for some time, according to The Washington Post
. But Brennan has asked three former CIA officers to evaluate her qualifications and history at the agency and that of several other candidates as well.
According to the Post, assembling a panel to review the qualifications of an undercover director was a first for the CIA.
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“The director of the clandestine service has never been picked that way,” a former senior U.S. intelligence official told the Post.
The woman, who was appointed acting director before Brennan took over as head of the CIA last month, is a veteran agent in her 50s who reportedly enjoys broad support within the agency. But her past ties to controversial detention and interrogation measures that were questioned by Congress has apparently raised some concerns, the Post noted.
The newspaper cited decisions related to the destruction of video tapes of interrogations as one example.
The acting director “is highly experienced, smart and capable,” and giving her the job permanently “would be a home run from a diversity standpoint,” a former senior U.S. intelligence official told the Post. “But she was also heavily involved in the interrogation program at the beginning and for the first couple of years.”
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