The CIA hired one of its most experienced spies out of retirement to run the nation's far-flung intelligence network, the agency said Wednesday.
John D. Bennett, who oversaw the agency's unmanned Predator drone program as station chief in Pakistan until his retirement in May, replaces Michael Sulick in one of the most important jobs in the agency.
Bennett joined the agency in 1991. He served as station chief throughout Africa, including in Pretoria, South Africa, and witnessed the emergence of al-Qaida.
After 9/11, Bennett returned to the U.S. and ran the agency's Special Activities Division, an outfit responsible for paramilitary operations.
In Pakistan, the CIA scored a number of successes on Bennett's watch. The agency's drones killed a number of high-level targets, including Baitullah Mehsud, a longtime leader of the Pakistani Taliban. Also, the CIA, working with the FBI, uncovered a plot in August 2009 to bomb the New York subway system.
"John has impeccable credentials at the very core of intelligence operations — espionage, covert action, and liaison," CIA Director Leon Panetta said. "He has been at the forefront of the fight against al-Qaida and its violent allies."
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