The CIA’s Enigmatic ‘Roger’

Greg Miller has a fascinating front-page story in the Washington Post today (appears to be behind a free registration wall) profiling Roger, the mysterious head of the Counterterrorism Center at the CIA, a key figure in the pursuit of Bin Laden, and a principal architect of the drones program.  Here’s the money quote, borrowing from Lawfare:

Roger, which is the first name of his cover identity, may be the most consequential but least visible national security official in Washington — the principal architect of the CIA’s drone campaign and the leader of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. In many ways, he has also been the driving force of the Obama administration’s embrace of targeted killing as a centerpiece of its counterterrorism efforts.

Colleagues describe Roger as a collection of contradictions. A chain-smoker who spends countless hours on a treadmill. Notoriously surly yet able to win over enough support from subordinates and bosses to hold on to his job. He presides over a campaign that has killed thousands of Islamist militants and angered millions of Muslims, but he is himself a convert to Islam.

His defenders don’t even try to make him sound likable. Instead, they emphasize his operational talents, encyclopedic understanding of the enemy and tireless work ethic.

“Irascible is the nicest way I would describe him,” said a former high-ranking CIA official who supervised the counterterrorism chief. “But his range of experience and relationships have made him about as close to indispensable as you could think.”

Miller’s profile of ‘Roger’ is utterly compelling reading – I think once you start, you’ll want to read the whole thing.

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