CIA Director John Brennan is reportedly considering promoting an official who ran an overseas "black site" where suspected terrorists were interrogated and who was involved in the decision to destroy videotapes of waterboarding. It's an outrageous idea. Installing that official as head of the agency's National Clandestine Service would undermine the Obama administration's insistence that it has repudiated the abuses of the George W. Bush administration's war on terror.
The long-serving CIA official, whose name can't be disclosed because of her covert status, is one of several candidates to head the clandestine service, which is responsible for espionage and operations abroad. The fact that she is being considered, as reported this week by the Washington Post, suggests that Brennan — who has disputed suggestions that he himself was involved in so-called enhanced interrogations during a previous stint in the agency — doesn't fully appreciate how demoralizing her appointment would be.
It's disturbing enough that the official was involved in the CIA's detention and interrogation program, which has been harshly criticized in a report by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Even more problematic is that she helped Jose Rodriguez, then the head of the clandestine service, draft an order to destroy more than 90 videotapes of interrogations at a black site in Thailand, where at least two Al Qaeda leaders were waterboarded. Rodriguez later was reprimanded by the CIA for giving that order.