CIA Director John O. Brennan has selected a new head for the agency’s spy service, passing over the acting director, a woman considered by many as tainted through her leadership of the agency’s abandoned program for detaining and interrogating suspect terrorists.
The National Clandestine Service recruits foreign agents to spy for the United States and carry out covert operations abroad.
Citing unnamed officials, the paper said the acting head “was at the center” of the CIA’s highly controversial detention and interrogation program, which employed techniques such as waterboarding that the Red Cross has labeled as torture. She briefly headed the agency’s secret “back site” prison in Thailand.
She also played a central role in the destruction of videotapes of CIA interrogations, the paper said, a decision deplored by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
The CIA denied to Bloomberg News that the choice had anything to do with the woman’s association with the detention program.
“The assertion that she was not chosen because of her affiliation with the [counterterrorism] mission is absolutely not true,” agency spokeswoman Maria Escalante told Bloomberg.