CIA deputy director Michael Morell steps down. Who is the new CIA No. 2?
Michael Morell, the CIA deputy director, is leaving. The new CIA deputy director: White House lawyer Avril Haines, who will be the first woman in the job.
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When President Barack Obama named a successor to former CIA Director David Petraeus in January, Morell was passed over in favor of the White House counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan. Morell had been acting director since Petraeus' resignation.
Morell, 54, announced his retirement Wednesday, saying he will leave his CIA post Aug. 9. The White House announced he has been appointed to the President's Intelligence Advisory Board, a group of mostly retired intelligence officers who advise the president on intelligence policy.
"While I have given everything I have to the Central Intelligence Agency and its vital mission for a third of a century, it is now time for me to give everything I have to my family," Morell said in a statement released Wednesday by the agency.
Morell is retiring after 33 years at the CIA, including two stints as acting director — during the last stint he managed the fallout inside the agency after Petraeus resigned over an extramarital affair. Morell ordered an internal investigation into his former boss' conduct that is ongoing.
"I was most looking forward to ... the opportunity to work side-by-side once again with Michael Morell," said Brennan, noting that they'd begun their careers at the CIA in 1980. "As much as I would selfishly like to keep Michael right where he is for as long as possible, he has decided to retire to spend more time with his family and to pursue other professional opportunities."
Haines, 43, has been a White House deputy assistant and deputy counsel for national security affairs since 2010. Before that, she was assistant legal adviser for treaty affairs at the State Department, according to a White House statement.
Haines had been nominated to serve as the State Department's legal adviser earlier this year, but Brennan chose her for the deputy post when Morell made clear that he was retiring.
Brennan said that Haines had participated in virtually every senior-level meeting at the president's National Security Council over the past two years and chairs the White House legal team that reviews the CIA's most sensitive programs.
"In every instance, Avril's command of substance, sense of mission, good judgment, and keen insights have been outstanding," Brennan said in his statement announcing the personnel changes.