The head of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Counterterrorism Center (CTC) will step down from his post this summer, according to personnel familiar with the leadership of CTC. The news comes amid a tumultuous few days for the agency’s public profile.

In what must surely have been an annoying week, the agency has been featured prominently, and negatively, in the media. First, unspecified agency personnel left inert explosives on a school bus following a training exercise in northern Virginia. Despite the fact that the explosives were inert, and thus harmless, there is no doubt that heads were figuratively exploding across the region when the inert charges were found. Someone at the CIA is surely a tad red-faced over that one.

Next, former CIA case officer Doug Laux arrived on the media scene, making the rounds to talk about his new memoir, “Left of Boom.” Laux, who claimed to “love” working at the CIA, seems nevertheless genuinely disenchanted with his time at the agency. He also makes certain points about CIA activities in Afghanistan—for example, that the agency too often played it safe in its operations—that are clearly causing consternation within the CIA.

One need only read a CIA spokesperson’s response to Laux’s media tour to sample a taste of the annoyance seeping out from Langley:

Sadly, Mr. Laux’s career at the CIA did not work out. We hope that someday, maybe with age and greater maturity, he will have better perspective on his time here. The American people should know that his former colleagues continue to do extraordinary work despite his departure, and do so without the need for public recognition.”


Thus, at first blanch, it seems that today’s CIA news breaking here on SOFREP offers yet more negative press for the beleaguered agency. Not necessarily. Yes, it appears that the current director of CTC—whom this author shall not name given his current status as an undercover officer—is retiring from the CIA. However, it does not appear that the officer is leaving for anything other than personal reasons, and is doing so at the end of a long career.

Although rumors of personnel departures within the leadership of the CIA have routinely proven unfounded (including one by this author that Director John Brennan would be retiring earlier this year), in this case, the CTC head’s departure has been confirmed by the man himself, in a message he sent to the CTC workforce.