US Officials: White House Picks Special-Ops Chief

By Kimberly Dozier | January 3, 2011 | 6:34 PM EST

(AP) - The White House has chosen former U.S. counterterrorist ambassador Michael Sheehan to take one of the top Pentagon jobs in America's secret war on terror groups.

Two senior U.S. officials say the former U.S. Army Green Beret will help coordinate America's sweeping campaign of clandestine special operations raids and covert drone strikes against militants operating from Pakistan to Afghanistan to Yemen. The officials insisted on anonymity because the White House has not yet announced the selection.

Sheehan will take over the post as assistant secretary of defense for special operations, a job now held by CIA veteran Michael Vickers. Vickers has been nominated to take the Pentagon's top intelligence job.

Sheehan did not return calls to his New York office.