Michael D’Andrea is an officer of the Central Intelligence Agency, who in 2017 was appointed to head the agency’s Iran Mission Center. He was a major figure in the search for Osama bin Laden, as well as the American drone strike targeted killing campaign.
D’Andrea was raised in Northern Virginia. He met his wife while working overseas with the Central Intelligence Agency, and converted to Islam in order to marry her. His wife, Faridah Currimjee D’Andrea is a daughter of a wealthy Muslim family from Mauritius with Gujarati origins.
D’Andrea joined the CIA in 1979, and he was considered an under performer at Camp Peary. D’Andrea reportedly began his overseas career in Africa, and he is listed as a foreign service officer at the Embassy of the United States in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. D’Andrea previously served as chief of station in Cairo, Egypt and later in Baghdad, Iraq. D’Andrea was reportedly one of the CIA officials who failed to track Nawaf al-Hazmi, who would later participate in the September 11 attacks.
D’Andrea became head of the CIA’s Counter terrorism Center in 2006, replacing Robert Grenier. During his nine-year tenure, D’Andrea presided over hundreds of American drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen, advocating for the program to the United States Congress. In 2015, leadership of the drone program was passed to Chris Wood, following bureaucratic reshuffling by Director John O. Brennan. During his time at the Counter terrorism Center many reporters referred to him only by the code name “Roger”, which was considered unusual for an official not posted overseas.
During the hunt for Osama bin Laden, D’Andrea directed an analysis of competing hypotheses as to who, besides Osama bin Laden, could be in the targeted compound in Abbottabad.
D’Andrea’s operatives also oversaw the interrogations of Abu Zubaydah, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, which were criticized in a United States Senate report. He was reportedly involved in the assassination of Hezbollah member Imad Mughniyah in Damascus, Syria. He received much blame for the Camp Chapman attack in Khost, Afghanistan, when seven CIA operatives were killed by a suicide bomber, who was allegedly backed Pakistan’s ISI.
He has been nicknamed Ayatollah Mike.
In popular culture D’Andrea was the inspiration for the character of “The Wolf” in Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty.
Who was Ayatollah Mike, Under Taker, Dark Prince or Michael D'Andrea?? | Afeefa Rao | Voice of Time
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