Responsible for Hezbollah’s Mughnieh Assassination Named as CIA Spying Chief for Iran: Report
The US Central Intelligence Agency has appointed Michael D’Andrea as its new Iran operations chief, a man who was reportedly involved in the assassination of senior Hezbollah military commander, Imad Mughnieh.
The CIA refuses to acknowledge the move but former and current agency officials have confirmed it, The New York Times reported Friday.
D’Andrea, who is around 60 years old, was directly responsible for the secret operation on May 2, 2011 to take out al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden at his residence in Abbottabad, northern Pakistan.
D’Andrea is known as the Dark Prince or Ayatollah Mike, and was reportedly the mastermind of the 2008 assassination of Hezbollah commander Mughnieh’ in Damascus.
He is also known for leading the US military’s global drone program, which has killed thousands of people, especially in Muslim-majority countries.
According to The New York Times, the appointment “is the first major sign that the (US President Donald) Trump administration is invoking the hard line the president took against Iran during his campaign.”
D’Andrea’s appointment also underscores the CIA’s tendency to take a more aggressive approach to espionage and covert operations under the leadership of Mike Pompeo, according to The Times.
“He can run a very aggressive program, but very smartly,” Robert Eatinger, a former CIA lawyer who also played a role in the drone campaign, told the daily.
The CIA refused to discuss the matter, noting that it never reveals the identity of its agents and clandestine officials.