News+Politics June 13, 2013
For The First Time, A Woman Is Second In Command At The C.I.A.

Incoming deputy director of the CIA Avril Haines

One day, a story like this might not be that big a deal. But in 2013, it is something of a landmark moment.

For the first time in its 65 year history, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency is about to have a woman in one of its two top jobs.

Her name is Avril Haines, and she's set to become the C.I.A.'s deputy director - replacing Michael Morell, who's retiring after 33 years at the agency.

Haines, 43, is currently the top lawyer at the U.S. President's National Security Council.

But she's something of an outsider at the C.I.A., in that she hasn't had an extensive career in intelligence - although, in her two years at the White House, she's been heavily involved in intelligence programs.

In her job at the National Security Council, Haines leads a group of lawyers who study and review the legal implications of the C.I.A.'s most sensitive operations, including drone strikes, cyberattacks and the collecting of intelligence inside America.

avril-haines-named-cia's-first-female-deputy-director-feature3.jpgBrennan said her work in this area "has given her a range of experiences on many of the same issues that we focus on as an agency," and he has praised Haines as someone who "knows more about covert action than anyone in the U.S. government outside of the CIA."

"In every instance, Avril's command of substance, sense of mission, good judgment, and keen insights have been outstanding," Brennan said.

There's an opinion piece on Bloomberg news entitled 'Avril Haines, the Right Woman to Clean Up the CIA.' It's written by Tim Weiner, a former national security correspondent for the New York Times.

Weiner writes that Haines appointment is "good news for anyone who thinks the agency ought to return to its origins of gathering and analyzing intelligence. It closes the door on the era of secret prisons, torture and kidnappings conducted in the name of national security.

It may be bad news for those who believe in the kill-them-all, let-God-sort-'em-out tactics of the war on terror."

As for Morell, he spent his entire career in intelligence and twice served as acting director of the C.I.A.

Outgoing CIA deputy director Michael Morell (centre)

He was by President George W. Bush's side on 9/11 and with President Barack Obama during the raid that killed Osama bin Laden. He's also defended the results of C.I.A. interrogation techniques such as waterboarding.

He's officially stepping down on August 9 and has been appointed to the President's Intelligence Advisory Board, which is made up of mostly retired officers.

via The New York Times

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