The head of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, who presided over the agency’s drone campaign and directed the hunt for Osama bin Laden, is being removed from his post, officials said, a watershed moment as the CIA turns its focus to a new generation of extremist threats.
The move, part of a major reorganization under CIA Director John Brennan, ends a nine-year tenure during which the center was transformed into a paramilitary force that employed armed drones to kill thousands of suspected terrorists and militants but also killed an unknown number of civilians.
As the architect of that campaign, the CTC chief came to be regarded as an Ahab-like figure known for dark suits and a darker demeanor. He could be merciless toward subordinates but was also revered for his knowledge of terrorist networks and his ability to run an organization that became almost an agency unto itself. He embodied a killing-centric approach to counterterrorism that enraged many Muslims, even though he is a convert to Islam.