Washington Post article, this is the first time a woman has ever led the branch that oversees the agency's covert operations. The woman, who remains undercover, was placed in the top position shortly before John Brennan was sworn in as CIA Director on March 8, but the news only broke on Wednesday. The timing coincides with another first for women in government. Julia Pierson was named director of the Secret Service on Tuesday.
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The woman's identity is kept secret but according to The Daily Mail, she's believed to be in her 50s. The Washington Post calls her a "veteran officer with broad support inside the agency" but also reveals her controversial past as the officer who helped run the CIA’s detention and interrogation program after the
Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. In 2005, she and her then-boss signed off on the decision to destroy
videotapes of prisoners being subjected to treatment critics have called
torture. (The destruction was investigated by the Justice Department but no charges were filed.) Both these incidents must be considered in order for her to be given the gig full time.
A former senior U.S. intelligence official who anonymously spoke to "The Washington Post" says she “is highly experienced, smart and capable,” and giving her the job permanently “would be a home run from a diversity standpoint." However she was “also heavily involved in the interrogation program at the beginning and for the first couple of years.”
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Because of her past, says the senior U.S. intelligence official, CIA Director John A. Brennan “is obviously hesitating” at making her role permanent. To help him make the decision, he's having three former CIA officials evaluate the candidates, a selection process that's never been used before, said the official.
These fictitious female CIA officials are often created with the help of a CIA government agency called the Entertainment Liaison Office which collaborates with the film industry on how the CIA is portrayed in the media. According to their website their role is to "give greater authenticity to scripts, stories, and other products in development. That can mean answering questions, debunking myths, or arranging visits to the CIA to meet the people who know intelligence — its past, present, and future. In some cases, we permit filming on our headquarters compound."
Perhaps the promotion of Pierson and this unnamed CIA official will start to become the norm, both in Hollywood and in real life.
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