CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell retiring

Central Intelligence Agency Deputy Director Michael Morell on Wednesday announced his retirement.

{mosads}”I am passionate about two things in this world — the Agency and my family. And 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,” Morell said in a statement.

Morell previously served twice as CIA acting director.

In May, news broke that Morell and former CIA Director David Petraeus disagreed about how much information to disclose to the public in talking points about a terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. 

State Department officials reportedly argued against Morell removing mention of previous CIA warnings of threats in Libya, according to administration officials.  Morell was not acting on pressure from administration officials to deemphasize indications that there might be a threat to the consulate, officials said. 

When Petraeus received the modified talking points, however, he reportedly said, “frankly, I’d just as soon not use this.” Petraeus said the talking points did not include enough detail for Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (Md.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, who requested them. 

The White House announced Wednesday afternoon that President Obama would appoint Morell to the President’s Intelligence Advisory Board.

Morell will be reportedly replaced by White House lawyer Avril D. Haines, effective Aug. 9. Haines previously served as Obama’s legal counsel for national security as well as a National Security Council adviser.

In announcing his retirement, Morell also praised Haines.

“She is extremely bright without being intimidating; she is tough while being compassionate; and she has the deepest of integrity,” Morell said.

In April, Haines was nominated to serve as the State Department’s legal adviser. According to a White House official, Haines’s nomination was withdrawn due to her selection to serve as deputy CIA director.

–This report was updated at 5:36 p.m.

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