The director of the CIA's Counter Terrorism Center has resigned under pressure, telling his staff that his boss, the head of the CIA's Clandestine Service, has "lost confidence in my leadership," U.S. intelligence officials tell NBC News.
The resignation is the most recent in a series of high level departures at the agency. A CIA official declined to comment, saying it was the agency's practice not to comment on personnel issues.
The names of both the official and his boss are classified and they can only be referred to by their first names: "Bob," the CTC director, and "Jose," the director of the clandestine service. As director of the CTC, "Bob" was responsible for covert operations against al-Qaida and other terrorist groups, including Predator attacks on al-Qaida leadership and other "special activities." "Bob" succeeded "Jose" when the latter was promoted from CTC Director to head of the Clandestine Service.
"Bob" was the CIA station chief in Islamabad on September 11, 2001 and a favorite of former CIA Director George Tenet. His post-September 11 memo was described in Bob Woodward's "Bush at War" as the blueprint for the CIA's covert operations against al-Qaida.
Other CIA officials tell NBC News that "Jose" viewed "Bob" as "too cautious" and insist the CIA's controversial Predator attack against suspected al-Qaida targets in Damodola, Pakistan last month had nothing to do with his departure. In that attack 18 people were killed, 13 of whom were villagers. The main target in the attack was al-Qaida No. 2, Ayman al-Zawahri, who was not killed and who last week showed up in a videotape message to ridicule the attempt on his life.
A U.S. intelligence official today said there was no new information on who was killed in the attacks, but noted, "some people [targeted] have been heard from, some have not."