Report: CIA suspends chief of Iran operations

The CIA’s chief of Iran operations was suspended after an internal probe showed he had created an abusive and hostile work environment, current and former officials told the Los Angeles Times.

Jonathan Bank, a veteran officer, was put on administrative leave and was sent home from CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., the report said. 

While the report did not indicate when the suspension occurred, officers and analysts in the agency’s Iran operations division were informed about the decision last week. 

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The division arranges and oversees spying on Iran and its nuclear program. 

Three former officials told the L.A. Times that members of the division were in open rebellion to Bank’s management style. The report did not elaborate on his leadership style. 

The CIA said it could not comment on personnel issues.   

“As a general matter, the CIA expects managers at all levels to demonstrate leadership skills and foster an environment that helps their employees perform at the highest levels to achieve agency objectives," spokesman Dean Boyd told the L.A. Times. "Whenever that doesn't happen, we examine the situation carefully and take appropriate action."

The report said several key employees in the division demanded transfers to other departments.

Bank is technically undercover, but his identity became public in 2010 when newspapers in Pakistan, England and India published his name, the report noted. He had been CIA station chief in Islamabad, Pakistan, at the time, and was pulled out from the post.