‘The grim reaper for the enemy’: CIA’s ‘legendary’ Iran chief forced to retire

The CIA’s Iran chief, described by his colleagues as “legendary,” is being forced to retire as the center he oversees is folded back into the agency’s larger Middle East division, according to former CIA officials.

The official, Mike D’Andrea — nicknamed the “Dark Lord” or “Prince of Darkness” and known by the undercover name “Roger”— had been granted waivers that allowed him to continue working at the CIA past the mandatory retirement age, according to former agency officials. But the agency declined his most recent retirement exception, according to these officials. D’Andrea’s retirement was first reported by the New York Times.

“They decided not to extend him again,” said a former senior CIA official. “It was basically, ‘Look, you’re not going to go any higher, we need new thinking, we need new people,’ and so they eased him out. He didn’t volunteer.”

A small cadre of other senior CIA officials who had been receiving retirement waivers were also told their tenure would no longer be extended, said another former senior agency official.

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A man holds up a fist while speaking into a microphone to a crowd of people, some of whom wear headdresses and hold guns or cameras.
A man claiming to be an al-Qaida member addresses a crowd in Yemen’s Abyan province in 2009. (AFP via Getty Images)

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