Mike Morrell Says He's Quitting CIA for His Family (Not Benghazi), for 'Real'

A custodian sweeps the lobby of the CIA. A custodian sweeps the lobby of the CIA. J. Scott Applewhite/AP file photo

Michael Morrell is retiring as deputy director of the CIA, and will be replaced by Avril Haines, the first woman to hold that job. Morrell spent 33 years at the CIA, and has served as acting CIA director twice, but says he wants to spend more time with his family. Morell's name has been in the news for removing the references to terrorismin the Benghazi talking points amid a series of emails between the White House, State Department, and CIA after the attacks last fall. (Morell's edits of the talking points can be seen here.) But Morrell says he really is leaving to get more time at home. 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."

Haines is an ally of CIA chief John Brennan, The Washington Post's Karen DeYoung and Greg Miller report. She helped Brennan "rewrite the rules of the drone campaign that were recently announced by Obama," and "has no direct investment in any of the counter-terrorism programs that Brennan has indicated he will seek to rein in." Before her appointment, Haines was serving as State Department legal adviser. She was the first woman to hold that position too.

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