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June 12, 2013

Changes at the CIA

Deputy CIA Director Mike Morrell -- who was briefly acting director -- is out -- Avril Haines, deputy assistant to the president and legal adviser to the National Security Council -- is in.

Morrell -- who cited the lure of spending more time with his family --will be retiring after 33 years with the agency.

"Whenever someone involved in the rough and tumble of Washington decides to move on, there is speculation in various quarters about the 'real reason,' " he said. "But when I say that it is time for my family, nothing could be more real than that."

CIA Director John Brennan said Morrell will be succeeded by Haines, whom he noted he and Morrell had worked closely with over the past several years.

Obama had nominated Haines as the Department of State's legal adviser just two months ago.

Brennan said Haines had "participated in virtually every deputies and principals committee meeting over the past two years and chairs the lawyers' Group that reviews the agency's most sensitive programs. In every instance, Avril's command of substance, sense of mission, good judgment, and keen insights have been outstanding."

Prior to the White House, Haines served at the State Department as assistant legal adviser for treaty affairs. She has published in the area of private international law and the law of war, has taught classes as an adjunct faculty member at Georgetown University Law School, and has represented the U.S. in international negotiations at the Hague Conference and the UN. 

Morell, who is retiring after 33 years, will step down Aug. 9. President Obama, who had named the career intelligence officer as acting director in November until a replacement was found for David Petraeus, who stepped down after an extramarital affair was revealed. Obama Wednesday appointed Morrell to the President's Intelligence Advisory Board.

"From being the PDB briefer at the side of President Bush on that horrific day in September 2001 to being at President Obama's side as the United States brought Bin Ladin to justice in May 2011—and all the ups and downs in between—few Americans have been as privileged as I have been to work at, and to represent, such an extraordinary organization," he said.

Morrell said Haines "will be an outstanding deputy director," calling her "extremely bright without being intimidating; she is tough while being compassionate; and she has the deepest of integrity."

He said that like Brennan, "she regularly asks, 'What is the right thing to do?' And, like John and me, Avril cares deeply about our Agency and our workforce. I have seen that time and time again in my interactions with her. We are very lucky to have Avril join our Agency family."

According to the White HOuse, Haines previously worked in the Office of the Legal Adviser at the Department of State from 2003 to 2006, first in the Office of Treaty Affairs and then in the Office of Political Military Affairs. From 2007 to 2008, she worked on the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations as Deputy Chief Counsel for the Majority. She clerked for Judge Danny Boggs on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit from 2002 to 2003. From 2001 to 2002, she was a Legal Officer at The Hague Conference on Private International Law. She received a B.S. in Physics from the University of Chicago and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center.

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