- The Washington Times - Saturday, January 24, 2015

Mark Mansfield, a childhood actor who rose through the ranks of the CIA to become a decorated officer and the agency’s chief spokesman, has died from complications due to kidney disease. He was 56.

Mansfield retired from the CIA in 2013 after a 31-year career that included stints as chief spokesman for the National Counterterrorism Center after the Sept. 11 attacks and as CIA Director of Public Affairs from July 2006 until May 2009 under then-Director Michael Hayden.

His final assignment was as officer-in-residence at the University of Miami, where he taught courses on the CIA and intelligence from the fall of 2009 until the spring of 2013.

In all, he served in a public affairs capacity under nine separate CIA directors, earning a reputation inside and outside the Agency as a calm-under-fire, humor-loving officer dedicated to getting information to the public from an agency known more for its secrecy and clandestine work.

“He was a consummate intelligence officer, deeply devoted to the men women of CIA,” said former CIA Director George Tenet, who served under Presidents Bill Clinton and George Bush. “Mark brought grace, a caring for people and a wonderful sense of humor with him to a tough job every single day.

“He gained the respect of so many professional journalists because of his honesty and belief in the importance of the public’s right to know how its government operates,” Mr. Tenet added.

Added former Director Mike Hayden: “Mark was a great public affairs officer and he became a dear friend. His council was always wise and always delivered with humor and grace.   No one was better at squaring the circle of demands for secrecy in intelligence and the equally powerful demands for transparency in a democracy.”

Mansfield died Wednesday in Miami after a long battle with kidney disease and diabetes. After retiring from the government in July 2013, he taught at the Miami University for one more semester.

As a child growing up in New Jersey, Mansfield starred in several television commercials, including for Quaker Oatmeal and the President’s Council on Physical Fitness. He also appeared in Carl Reiner’s Broadway comedy Something Different back in 1967 and 1968.

He attended Rutgers University, where he served as Editor-in-Chief of the school’s newspaper, then went on to earn a masters degree in journalism from Columbia University.

Mansfield joined the CIA in 1982, beginning his career as an editor with what was then the Foreign Broadcast Information Service. By 1992-93, he has risen as an officer to supervise an analytical branch in the Directorate of Intelligence.

Through his career, he held various positions in CIA’s Public Affairs Office, including as chief of media relations, speechwriter for the director and deputy director of public affairs.

In 2005, he was awarded the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, the CIA’s highest award for service. He received the “Director’s Award” from former CIA Directors Michael Hayden and George Tenet.

He is survived by his daughter, Lauren Mansfield, of Herndon, VA; and two brothers, Gregory of New York, NY and Paul of Wynnewood, PA.

Funeral arrangements are as follows: Viewing at Frank Patti Funeral Home (327 Main Street, Fort Lee, NJ 07024) on Friday, January 30, 2015 from 4-8 p.m.

Funeral mass at The Historic Madonna Church on the Hill (2070 Hoefleys Lane, Fort Lee, NJ 07024) on Saturday, Jan.31, 2015 at 11 a.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family recommends donations to the Diabetes Research Institute Foundation in Mansfield’s memory at https://diabetesresearch.org/donate-now

• John Solomon can be reached at jsolomon1@washingtontimes.com.

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