Philip Mudd, one of the intelligence community’s leading al-Qaeda analysts, has quietly retired from the FBI, where he was associate executive director of the National Security Branch. Mudd confirmed in an email that he left “about six weeks ago,” but didn’t immediately respond to additional questions about his departure.
Mudd was a longtime CIA counterterrorism specialist before coming to the FBI, but it doesn’t appear as if he’ll return to his home agency. This could be it for Mudd’s government career.
And that would be a strange turn. After spending years as an analyst away from the spotlight, President Obama and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano nominated Mudd to head the intelligence branch at the Department of Homeland Security, taking over from another storied CIA veteran, Charlie Allen. But Mudd withdrew his name from consideration, reportedly after Senate staffers thought he might have been involved in interrogation or detention decisions of the previous administration — an allegation that has never been substantiated. White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said at the time that Mudd would have made “an excellent Undersecretary for Intelligence and Analysis.”
Meanwhile, FBI Director Robert Mueller announced just now that Sean Joyce, a longtime FBI special agent, will head up the bureau’s National Security Branch, overseeing all intelligence and national security functions. Joyce would have been Mudd’s new boss if Mudd stuck around.
I’m awaiting formal comment from FBI and CIA on Mudd and will update when I have more.
Update: From CIA spokesman George Little: “Phil had a distinguished career at the Agency, where he made outstanding contributions to many aspects of our vital intelligence mission. His consummate professionalism and leadership made a stand-out of a stand-up guy.”
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