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Trump Admin Taps Legendary CIA Officer To Deal With Iran


The CIA officer who oversaw the U.S. hunt for Osama Bin Laden has been tapped by Director Mike Pompeo to oversee covert operations in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the New York Times reports.

The officer, Michael D’Andrea, is a veteran CIA officer who headed up the National Counter-Terrorism Center for nearly a decade after the 9/11 attacks. D’Andrea is most credited with dramatically ramping up U.S. drone strikes under former presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, and has reported ties to the CIA’s past interrogation program of detainees.

D’Andrea’s tenure is particularly noteworthy given his track record at leading some of the most aggressive elements of U.S. counter-terrorism policies. “He can run a very aggressive program, but very smartly,” a former CIA lawyer who worked with D’Andrea told TheNYT.

D’Andrea’s appointment could signal the Trump administration’s intent to escalate U.S. covert actions against Iran. President Donald Trump took an especially hard line on Iran in a recent visit to Saudi Arabia where he said, “All nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism, and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they deserve.”

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U.S. covert operations in Iran are reportedly extremely limited due to the lack of a U.S. embassy and robust Iranian security services effort. Some agency cyber efforts have, however, been effective in deterring the regime’s nuclear program.

One of Iran’s critical nuclear reactors was catastrophically disabled by a reported CIA computer virus known as Stuxnet in 2010. The operation was such a resounding success that it set back the country’s nuclear program for years.

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