White House lawyer to take over as CIA deputy director

The deputy director for the Central Intelligence Agency is resigning, and will be replaced with White House lawyer Avril Haines, CIA director John Brennan said Wednesday, reported The Washington Post.

Brennan praised Haines as someone who “knows more about covert action than anyone in the US government outside of the CIA,” reported the Post.

Brennan is new at the CIA, having taken over as director in March. 

Haines will replace Michael Morell, who is retiring, according to Reuters. The 43-year-old reportedly worked at the State Department prior to the White House, and said he was leaving his post to have more time with 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,’” Morell said in a statement. “But when I say that it is time for my family, nothing could be more real than that.”

Obama wanted her back in Foggy Bottom to serve as legal council as of two months ago, according to the Post

So this is a "surprise move" from the administration, said the Post, noting that with Haines on board, Brennan will have "an ally in the CIA’s executive suite who helped him rewrite the rules of the drone campaign that were recently announced by Obama." 

In a major counterterrorism speech late last month, the US leader announced that he had signed new drone policy guidelines.

Haines' appointment does not require Senate approval, reported Reuters