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CIA names new head of clandestine service

John D. Bennett, a CIA veteran who served as station chief in Pakistan until 2009 and who has had numerous other overseas postings, has been appointed head of the agency's National Clandestine Service, Director Leon E. Panetta announced Wednesday.

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.

As head of the clandestine service, he will succeed Michael J. Sulick, who is retiring.

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.

"John has impeccable credentials at the very core of intelligence operations -- espionage, covert action, and liaison," said Panetta. "He has been at the forefront of the fight against al-Qaeda and its violent allies. ... He knows the topics and regions that are likely to shape our security agenda in the years ahead. But there is much more to it than that. He also understands the hardships and benefits of tough jobs, and he knows -- in any environment -- the mix of skills, capabilities, and partners that successful operations demand."

Panetta also noted in a statement that Sulick, during his three years at the clandestine service, "guided complex operations under some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable."

"Our officers have had tremendous success against the full range of national security challenges, including terrorists, weapons proliferators, drug traffickers, rogue states, and hostile intelligence services," said Panetta.

By Peter Finn  | July 21, 2010; 3:03 PM ET
 
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Comments

Great another top secret chief thief that will help continue stealing the American taxpayers money.

Posted by: metroman76 | July 21, 2010 3:17 PM | Report abuse

It's too bad the US is failing to seek out the real perpetrators, most of whom lie hidden inside prominent corporate board rooms, conspiring to ShutUpSport/OKOKOK

Posted by: WindLessBreeze | July 21, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I am glad to see the agency had the sense or should I say Leon Panetta had the sense to get a professional, that has worked thru all levels of the military and agency postings to know what the real missions should be of human intelligence and not the "dreams" that some people make happen like Sidney Gottlieb back in the 50s and 60s until he retired in 1973 we don't need anymore "masters of disasters" at the agency we need professionals and I am glad that Mr Bennett has agreed to serve this nation again this level of work is hard on anyone let alone their family he could easily gone to work for SAIC making hundred of thousands if not millions a year, so he chose instead to take a "thankless job" and chose "cuty, honor and country" before taking the money and run he deserves our thanks not cheap shots from the bleacher seats I for one SALUTE him and thank his family.

I was one of Dr Gottliebs "lab rats" at Edgewood Arsenal from 1955 - 1975 they used 7120 enlisted soldiers in drug and chemical weapons experiments the most infamous was MKULTRA I dislike the CIA as much as anyone but still the majority of the people who work there do it for the right reasons and not like Sidney Gottleib abuse their power they do things that should and need to be done but they have the duty to only do what is right and necessary and do need to be accountable to the Oversight committee's and not abuse people in the process

we need more people like Mr Bennett and none like Sidney Gottleib

Posted by: mikey30919 | July 21, 2010 4:07 PM | Report abuse

I am thankful to Mr.Panetta for getting such a good and experienced person as Mr. Bennett to watch over us. All of our tech is only as good as the people who stand behind it.

Posted by: Elisa2 | July 21, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: f6sa8fajk | July 21, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse

Why would anything ever be published regarding a clandestine government employee? Does anyone not think he might become a target?

Posted by: marc85 | July 21, 2010 9:54 PM | Report abuse

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Posted by: f6sa8fajk | July 21, 2010 8:30 PM | Report abuse
---

For once, we agree...

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Posted by: thegreatpotatospamof2003 | July 21, 2010 10:21 PM | Report abuse

First, one other perspective to see the CIA is as a criminal organization. All these people do is break the laws of other countries they spy on (in most contires spying is illegal).

On another point, I want to know if this guy Bennett believes in abstinence until one elopes with their spouse for eternity.

Also on this point does Mr. Bennett believe in the afterlife, or the immortality of real people. People that haven't put this thing together about how they don't 'die' should not be allowed to play army or CIA. One is just asking for trouble by hiring people that don't understand this.

Posted by: RobertCurleyJacobs | July 21, 2010 10:34 PM | Report abuse

I also want to know if this Bennett guy is civilized. When his Clandestine service assassinates people do they know to send individuals to the afterlife painlessly and in there sleep.

Posted by: RobertCurleyJacobs | July 21, 2010 10:46 PM | Report abuse

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