Brennan's Likely Pick for Top Spy Job Has Torture Ties

CIA's mystery woman highly qualified, tainted

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 27, 2013 11:30 AM CDT

(Newser) – A woman who helped run the CIA's detention and interrogation program after 9/11 and green-lighted the destruction of interrogation videos is in line to become the new chief of the CIA’s National Clandestine Service, the Washington Post reports. The woman, who is undercover and thus not named, is already running the department temporarily—the first woman to ever hold the top position; now newbie CIA director John Brennan, himself no stranger to controversy, must make the prickly decision of whether to appoint her permanently.

Brennan is taking the unprecedented move of appointing a panel to evaluate candidates, which some say underscores the importance of the job, while a former intel official says Brennan "is obviously hesitating" and looking to insulate himself politically. On the one hand, she is highly qualified, well liked, and “would be a home run from a diversity standpoint," says the official. On the other, no one likes a torturer. As the chief of staff for the head of the Counterterrorism Center, she signed off on the destruction of 90 tapes of prisoners being subjected to "enhanced interrogation techniques," including waterboarding. "At the end of the day John is going to have to choose," says an ex-CIA official.

CIA Director nominee John Brennan, testifies before a Senate Select Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013.
CIA Director nominee John Brennan, testifies before a Senate Select Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 7, 2013.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
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