The ‘Dark Prince’ to assume C.I.A.’s Iran Operations


C.I.A. officer Michael D’Andrea, nicknamed as the Dark Prince or Ayatollah Mike, is now running the C.I.A.’s Iran operation, according to the New York Times. He is the officer who oversaw the hunt for Osama bin Laden and American drone strike campaign. D’Andrea’s appointment is seen as a major sign of Trump administration taking a hard line against Iran. A former C.I.A. lawyer Robert Eatinger said about D’Andrea that he can run a “very aggressive program, but smartly”.
Iran has been one of the toughest targets for the C.I.A. due to the agency lack of access to the country. And now D’Andrea—with an outsize reputation and a track record to back it up— must carry out President Trump’s views about Iran, according to the New York Times. During his campaign, Mr. Trump called Iran “the number one terror state,” pledging to dismantle and revise the nuclear deal between Iran and P5+1—a threat which the president has not gone through with yet.
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has called the nuclear deal with Iran a failure and President Trump has appointed Hawks to National Security Council—people who are eager to contain Iran and push for regime change, a task whose preliminary work must be laid through C.I.A. covert action.
Director of C.I.A. Mike Pompeo, who was previously one of fiercest critics of the Iran deal in the Congress, promised during his Senate confirmation hearing in January 2017 that if the nuclear deal remains in place, he will keep a fierce watch to make sure Tehran is keeping its obligations.
D’Andrea took over C.I.A.’s Counterterrorism Center in early 2006 and spent 9 years directing the hunt for militants around the world. Operatives under his direction played a significant role in 2008 in the killing of Imad Mugniyah—the international operation chief of Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Shiite militant group based in Lebanon.
D’Andrea converted to Islam to marry his wife, who is Muslim, and his appointment in this position is signaling a tougher stance toward the Iranian regime.

Editorial Team