Donald Trump
US Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump appears at a campaign roundtable event in Manchester, New Hampshire, US, October 28, 2016. Reuters/Carlo Allegri

US President Donald Trump has allegedly hired an “aggressive” strategist most popularly known as “The Dark Prince” to run the Central Intelligence Agency’s Iran operations. Trump administration dubbed Iran “the number one terror state.”

The new job of Michael D’Andrea is perceived as one of the several moves inside the spy agency that signal a stronger approach to covert operations under the leadership of conservative Republican Mike Pompeo, current and former intelligence, officials reportedly revealed. Also known as Ayatollah Mike, D’Andrea oversaw the hunt for Osama bin Laden as well as the US drone strike campaign that claimed the lives of thousands of Islamist militants and hundreds of civilians.

Another highlight in his portfolio was running the CIA’s Counterterrorism Centre for nearly ten years, in which he forged new territory in drone technology warfare, which was said to be a “targeted killing program.” But as for D’Andrea’s alleged role in the CIA, the agency declined to give comments.

The officials spoke on the condition of anonymity because he remains undercover. The New York Times is naming D’Andrea because he leads a new administration initiative against Iran and also because his identity was previously published in news reports.

Former CIA lawyer Robert Eatinger told The Times it would not be "the wrong read" to see D'Andrea's appointment as a step toward a more hardline policy on Iran. He described D'Andrea as very smartly and someone who can run an aggressive program. Additionally, he was the most senior CIA officer in Baghdad during the Iraq War in 2003. He also previously worked across the intelligence spectrum in Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen and Egypt.

D’Andrea converted to Islam when he fell in love with a Muslim woman while in the Middle East, notes. It is believed he is in his 50s or 60s.

Trump assembles a team

Per The Washington Post, 10 out of 25 senior policy and leadership positions on Trump’s National Security Council (NSC) are held by current or retired military officials. That number is five times more compared to former US President Barack Obama’s.

The shift in staffing is perceived to reflect the US president’s faith in the nation’s warriors. During the campaign trail and in office, he pledged to “knock the hell” out of the Islamic State. Trump's national-security adviser Army Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster believes Iran was the culprit of attacks on US troops in Iraq.

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