18 December 2012
CIA John Behind the CIA Drone Assassinations
The man who hunted Osama bin Laden
By ADAM GOLDMAN - Associated Press,MATT APUZZO - Associated Press | AP
Tue, Jul 5, 2011
While he was shepherding the hunt for bin Laden, John also was pushing to
expand the Predator program, the agency's use of unmanned airplanes to launch
missiles at terrorists. The CIA largely confined those strikes to targets
along Pakistan's border with Afghanistan. But in late 2007 and early 2008,
John said the CIA needed to carry out those attacks deeper inside Pakistan.
It was a risky move. Pakistan was an important but shaky ally. John's analysts
saw an increase in the number of Westerners training in Pakistani terrorist
camps. John worried that those men would soon start showing up on U.S. soil.
"We've got to act," John said, a former senior intelligence official recalls.
"There's no explaining inaction."
John took the analysis to then CIA Director Michael Hayden, who agreed and
took the recommendation to President George W. Bush. In the last months of
the Bush administration, the CIA began striking deeper inside Pakistan. Obama
immediately adopted the same strategy and stepped up the pace. Recent attacks
have killed al-Qaida's No. 3 official, Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, and Pakistani
Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud.
At rear with eyes closed, "CIA John," true name secret.
President Barack Obama talks with members of the national security team at
the conclusion of one in a series of meetings discussing the mission against
Osama bin Laden, in the Situation Room of the White House, May 1, 2011.
CIA officer Frances Bikowski, head of the Global Jihad Unit, an avid believer
in interrogation torture, who worked with CIA John, is considered to be,
in part, a model for the female star of Zero Dark Thirty.
More on Bikowsky: