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Brennan Considering CIA Agent Who Destroyed Torture Tapes for Key Position

Anonymous agent implicated in 2005 torture tapes scandal will likely be kept as top official

Jacob Chamberlain, staff writer

Protesters dressed as Guantánamo detainees assembled in front of the White House to protest President Barack Obama's nomination of John Brennan for director of the CIA. Members of Code Pink joined Witness Against Torture, one of them dressed as John Brennan himself. (Shrieking Tree via Flickr / Creative Commons License)

A yet to be named woman within the CIA, who signed off on a 2005 decision to destroy videotapes of prisoners being subjected to torture, has recently been placed in charge of the CIA’s clandestine services, according to the Washington Post, leaving new CIA Chief John Brennan with the decision of whether or not to keep her there.

Brennan's nomination as CIA director has been mired in controversy over the shadowy nature of the CIA's targeted killing drone program, largely designed by Brennan himself, and over Brennan's role as a senior CIA official when the agency instituted the use of water-boarding and other torture methods in the post 9/11 era.

"The question of whether to give her the job permanently poses an early quandary for Brennan, who is already struggling to distance the agency from the decade-old controversies," the Post reports Wednesday.

Subsequently, Brennan is thought to be making this appointment with particular caution, so as to avoid any political fallout related to keeping within the CIA the major players of the Bush era torture programs.

The Post writes:

To help navigate the sensitive decision on the clandestine service chief, Brennan has taken the unusual step of assembling a group of three former CIA officials to evaluate the candidates. Brennan announced the move in a previously undisclosed notice sent to CIA employees last week, officials said.

“The director of the clandestine service has never been picked that way,” said a former senior U.S. intelligence official.

The move has led to speculation that Brennan is seeking political cover for a decision made more difficult by the re-emergence of the interrogation controversy and the acting chief’s ties to that program.

The undercover agent in question served in a senior position at the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center following the September 11th attacks, and was a key player in the Rendition, Detention and Interrogation program (RDI).

As Kevin Gosztola at FireDogLake reports, "The woman clearly engaged in obstruction of evidence," through the desctruction of CIA torture tapes. "The Justice Department brought no charges against any officers in the agency. Because the Justice Department chose not to pursue accountability, it is likely she will remain as head of the clandestine service."

Read more about the 2005 torture tapes scandal at FireDogLake.

Read the Washington Post's coverage here.


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