from Common Dreams (June 2019)
In 2017, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) created a special
unit—the Iran Mission Center—to focus attention on the U.S. plans
against Iran. The initiative for this unit came from CIA director John
Brennan, who left his post as the Trump administration came into office.
Brennan believed that the CIA needed to focus attention on what the
United States sees as problem areas—North Korea and Iran, for instance.
This predated the Trump administration.
Brennan’s successor—Mike Pompeo, who was CIA director for just over a
year (until he was appointed U.S. Secretary of State)—continued this
policy. The CIA’s Iran-related activity had been conducted in the Iran
Operations Division (Persia House). This was a section with Iran
specialists who built up knowledge about political and economic
developments inside Iran and in the Iranian diaspora.
It bothered the hawks in Washington—as one official told me—that
Persia House was filled with Iran specialists who had no special focus
on regime change in Iran. Some of them, due to their long concentration
on Iran, had developed sensitivity to the country. Trump’s people wanted
a much more focused and belligerent group that would provide the kind
of intelligence that tickled the fancy of his National Security Adviser
To head the Iran Mission Center, the CIA appointed Michael D’Andrea.
D’Andrea was central to the post-9/11 interrogation program, and he ran
the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center. Assassinations and torture were
central to his approach...
[read more here]