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CIA’s Morell Leaving as Obama Names White House Lawyer to Job

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June 12 (Bloomberg) -- Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell is retiring and President Barack Obama has selected a White House lawyer, Avril D. Haines, to replace him at the spy agency.

Morell, 54, who began at the Central Intelligence Agency in 1980 as an analyst, help draft the administration’s talking points on the attack on diplomatic facilities in Benghazi. He will become a member of the president’s Intelligence Advisory Board, the White House said in a statement.

Taking over the job is Haines, who has been deputy counsel to the president for national security affairs since 2010. She previously worked at the State Department and on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

“I am proud that such experienced and committed individuals have agreed to serve the American people in these important roles,” Obama said in a statement. “I look forward to working with them in the months and years ahead.”

Morell, who served as acting director following the resignation of David Petraeus last November, said he’s leaving to devote more time to 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.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Hans Nichols in Washington at hnichols2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net