‘AYATOLLAH MIKE’

CIA’s New Iran Chief Signals Trump Hard-Line Stance

The U.S. Central Intelligence Agency has appointed Michael D’Andrea to run its Iran operations, The New York Times reported Friday, signaling the Trump administration’s hard-line approach to Iranian affairs. D’Andrea is reportedly a “chain-smoking convert to Islam” known by the nicknames “Dark Prince” and “Ayatollah Mike” from his time as a CIA officer overseeing the hunt for Osama bin Laden and U.S. drone-strike campaigns throughout the Mideast that have resulted in both militant and civilian deaths. According to the Times, “Mr. D’Andrea’s new role is one of a number of moves inside the spy agency that signal a more muscular approach to espionage and covert operations under the leadership of Mike Pompeo, the conservative Republican and former congressman, [current] officials said.”