CIA director Leon Panetta has named a new National Clandestine Service chief, reports Peter Finn in the Washington Post today. The new chief, John Bennett, has been serving as station chief in Pakistan, overseeing in particular the expansion of the drone campaign carried out by the CIA there. One may take that as further evidence that the Obama administration does not regard deep, senior participation in drone activities and targeted killing as something to be embarrassed about; quite the contrary.
Bennett, a former Marine and Harvard graduate, had retired in May after a nearly 30-year career at the CIA, but was coaxed back to take charge of the service, which runs human intelligence and covert operations. Among other posts, Bennett previously served as chief of Special Activities Division, the agency’s covert paramilitary unit …. While station chief in Pakistan, one of the agency’s most sensitive positions, Bennett was deeply involved in the drone campaign that has killed hundreds of al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives, including at least 20 senior figures.