CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell announced his retirement on Wednesday.
Morell served as acting director following David Petraeus’ resignation last year. Although he seemed poised to permanently take over the position, President Barack Obama later appointed White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to the head of the organization.
According to The Associated Press, the CIA Deputy Director will vacate the position on August 9 after 33 years with the agency. White House lawyer Avril Haines has been tapped to take his place. She will become the first woman to hold this particular position within the CIA.
“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,” Michael Morell said in a statement released on Wednesday.
Many have wondered if the CIA Deputy Director was forced out of his position. However, Morell insists his decision was based on concerns from his family.
“Whenever someone involved in the rough and tumble of Washington decides to move on, there is speculation in various quarters about the ‘real reason.’ But when I say that it is time for my family, nothing could be more real than that,” he explained.
Morell continued, “Few Americans have been as privileged as I have been to work at, and to represent, such an extraordinary organization.”
USA Today reports CIA Director John Brennan had nothing but positive things to say about the departing deputy director. Brennan said he was looking forward to working “side-by-side once again” with Morell.
“[He] has tackled some of the toughest assignments that CIA has to offer: presidential briefer, associate deputy director, director for intelligence, deputy director, and — toughest of all — acting director,” Brennan explained.
While Morell is leaving the CIA behind, he’s not entirely out of the intelligence game. The White House appointed him to the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board, a group consisting of mostly retired intelligence officers who assist the President with certain policies.
What do you think about CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell’s retirement?