No. 2 CIA Man Quits Post; No Shake-up Seen

From a Times Staff Writer

President Reagan accepted "with regret" Tuesday the resignation of John N. McMahon, deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency.

McMahon cited "personal reasons" for his departure. The 56-year-old McMahon, a long-time CIA employee, had served in the No. 2 position under agency Director William J. Casey since June, 1982.

A White House statement said that McMahon's successor would be Robert M. Gates, 42, a career employee who joined the CIA in 1966 as an intelligence analyst.

There was no indication that the resignation signaled a widespread shake-up in the CIA's highest ranks, although McMahon had clashed with Capitol Hill conservatives who considered him less than zealous in his support of aid to guerrilla fighters in Afghanistan and Nicaragua.

Covert Aid Issue

At one point during the Nicaraguan covert aid program, which Congress voted to abolish in 1984, McMahon quietly asked to be relieved of his responsibility for briefing intelligence committees. The gesture was interpreted as a reflection of his discomfort with the program and his feeling that he could no longer be an effective advocate.

An agency spokesman said that McMahon simply thought it time to move on, adding: "He's done everything that can be listed in an unclassified bio."

Gates, McMahon's designated successor, is known for his expertise in East-West relations and strategic arms control. He recently served as the CIA's national intelligence officer for the Soviet Union.

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