Michael D'Andrea

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Person.png Michael D'Andrea  Rdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Michael D’Andrea.jpg
Died27 January 2020 (Age 65)

Michael D'Andrea was an officer of the Central Intelligence Agency who in 2017 was appointed to head the CIA's Iran Mission Center.[1] He was a major figure in the search for Osama bin Laden, as well as the American drone strike targeted killing campaign.[2]

On 27 January 2020, Veterans Today reported that Michael D'Andrea, who was responsible for the assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani on 3 January 2020, was killed when his Bombardier/Northrop Grumman E-11A surveillance and communications plane was shot down by the Taliban in central Afghanistan at Ghazni.[3]

Islamic magazine Crescent International wrote that initially US corporate media did not report the downing of the plane, but when it did so there was no mention of D’Andrea. CI concluded:

"If the CIA regional chief has not been killed in the plane crash, he has also not appeared in public to refute claims of his death."[4]

Early life

Michael D'Andrea was raised in Northern Virginia. He met his wife while working overseas with the CIA, and converted to Islam in order to marry her.[5] His wife, Faridah Currimjee D'Andrea is a daughter of a wealthy Muslim family from Mauritius with Gujarati origins.[6]


Michael D'Andrea joined the CIA in 1979, and he was considered an underperformer 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.[7] D'Andrea previously served as chief of station in Cairo, Egypt and later in Baghdad, Iraq.[8] 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 Counterterrorism Center in 2006, replacing Robert Grenier.[9] 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.[10] In 2015, leadership of the drone program was passed to Chris Wood, following bureaucratic reshuffling by Director John O. Brennan.[11] During his time at the Counterterrorism Center many reporters referred to him only by the codename "Roger", which was considered unusual for an official not posted overseas.[12][13]

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.[14]

D'Andrea's operatives also oversaw the interrogations of Abu Zubaydah, Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri and Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, which were criticised in a United States Senate report (Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency's Detention and Interrogation Program). He was reportedly involved in the assassination of Hezbollah member Imad Mughniyeh in Damascus, Syria. He received much blame for the Camp Chapman attack in Khost Province 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.

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