A new head of the CIA's clandestine service has been appointed to replace its acting chief, apparently in a move to distance the agency from past interrogation and detention operations.
The new director, a man in his late 50s who will remain undercover in the job, served as a Marine and started at the CIA in its paramilitary branch, The New York Times
During his career, he was the top American spy in Islamabad and worked as a case officer, carrying out traditional espionage work in overseas assignments. In his new role, he will run all espionage and covert action programs.
The female agent currently serving as acting head of the clandestine service was passed over, a decision, the Times noted, that signaled CIA Director John Brennan's intention to shift the agency away from the detention and interrogation programs she had run. Brennan had said during his Senate confirmation in February that he did not approve of the programs.
The Times also noted that in 2005, the woman was also involved in a controversy over the destruction of videotapes documenting widely disputed interrogation techniques used on al-Qaida terrorist suspects. Questions had been raised about her connection to the interrogation programs by Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, among others.
One former CIA officer who served with the new clandestine chief called him "a safe choice."
The new head will likely be part of the ongoing debate about whether the agency should be permitted to carry out so-called signature strikes involving the use of drones to attack suspected terrorist activities even though the exact identity of the targets may not be known, the Times reported.
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