The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

By Ken Dilanian, Tribune Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — The CIA’s chief of Iran operations was placed on paid administrative leave and sent home from agency headquarters after an internal investigation found he had created an abusive and hostile work environment that put a critical division in disarray, according to current and former officials.

Officers and analysts in the Iran operations division, which coordinates spying on Iran and its nuclear program, were informed at a meeting last week at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virgina, of the decision to suspend Jonathan Bank, a veteran officer and member of the senior intelligence service.

Three former officials said the Iran operations division was in open rebellion to Bank’s management style, with several key employees demanding transfers.

“Iran is one of most important targets, and the place was not functioning,” one of the former officials said.

In 2010, Bank was pulled out as CIA station chief in Islamabad after newspapers in Pakistan, India, England and elsewhere published his name in connection with a court case, and the agency said he had received death threats. U.S. officials believe Pakistan’s intelligence service leaked the name in a dispute over CIA drone attacks in the country’s tribal belt.

Bank, now 46, previously served at CIA stations in the Balkans, Moscow and Baghdad, former agency officials said. He also was a top assistant to James Pavitt, who from 1999 to 2004 headed the CIA’s operations arm, now known as the National Clandestine Service.

The former CIA officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss a personnel matter. Bank is technically undercover, but his name has been public since the 2010 incident. He did not respond to email messages requesting comment.

Dean Boyd, the agency’s chief spokesman, said he could not comment on a personnel issue.

“As a general matter, the CIA expects managers at all levels to demonstrate leadership skills and foster an environment that helps their employees perform at the highest levels to achieve agency objectives,” Boyd said. “Whenever that doesn’t happen, we examine the situation carefully and take appropriate action.”

Several former CIA officials said they could not remember a senior manager being suspended over workplace issues, but management problems are a recurring challenge at the agency.

According to a Los Angeles Times report in July, an internal CIA workplace survey in 2009 found that those who left the spy agency frequently cited bad management as a factor, particularly in the clandestine service. In interviews, former officers said they felt poor managers suffered no consequences.

AFP Photo/Saul Loeb

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Former President Bill Clinton leaves UCI Medical Center with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

CNBC screen shot

(Reuters) - Former U.S. President Bill Clinton walked out of a Southern California hospital early Sunday morning accompanied by his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, after being admitted last week for a urological infection, live video showed.

Clinton, 75, had been in California for an event for the Clinton Foundation and was treated at the University of California Irvine Medical Center's intensive care unit after suffering from fatigue and being admitted on Tuesday.

Keep reading... Show less

Trumpist rioters rampaging in the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

The federal judge overseeing the Oath Keepers conspiracy case in the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection ordered their trial delayed this week, primarily because of the overwhelming amount of evidence still being produced in their cases. Though the delay was expected, its reasons are stark reminders that January 6 will be one of the most complex prosecutions in history and that the investigation remains very active as more evidence piles up. There are likely some very big shoes still to drop.

Keep reading... Show less
x
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}