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Woman to head CIA's clandestine service?

For the first time in CIA history, a woman may head the spy agency's clandestine service. But her connection to abusive treatment of terrorist suspects at 'black sites' has brought criticism.

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The CIA reportedly operates black site prisons in Afghanistan, Thailand, Poland, Lithuania, Morocco and Romania.

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Because of her background in detention and interrogation, news that this woman is running (and may permanently oversee) the clandestine service is being met with criticism – particularly since she is said to have been directly involved in the destruction of 92 video tapes made of interrogation sessions that included the “enhanced” methods often labeled “torture.”

One such critic is Glenn Carle, the agency's former deputy national intelligence officer for transnational threats who served 23 years in the clandestine service.

"Appointing someone who directly supported the enhanced interrogation program – as opposed to having been part of the system that engaged in it – would be a mistake," Mr. Carle told Foreign Policy magazine. "We should repudiate these sorts of practices, whatever the pressures and judgments of the moment were."

"My understanding is that the United States prosecuted Japanese soldiers after World War II for having waterboarded Allied soldiers," he said. "Perhaps we should avoid raising to the highest position in the Clandestine Services someone so directly implicated in the same practice … this time engaged in by Americans."

The destruction of the interrogation video tapes infuriated many members of Congress. The US Justice Department investigated but did not file charges in the case.

Responding to questions this week about the woman being considered for the job, CIA spokesman Preston Golson said the acting director "is one of the most senior and respected officers in the agency and is, of course, a strong candidate for the job."

During his recent confirmation hearings, Mr. Brennan was pressed on whether he agreed with a Senate report's conclusion that waterboarding and other abusive interrogation measures did not work.

Brennan said he had read parts of the report and that he did not disagree.

Sen. Carl Levin (D) of Michigan asked Brennan if he thought waterboarding was “torture.” Brennan did not answer directly, but called waterboarding "reprehensible” and something that “should never have been employed.”

News that a woman may become chief of the CIA’s clandestine service came the same day that President Obama appointed Julia Pierson as the first female director of the Secret Service.


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