Thursday, June 13, 2013

Obama is exerting new authority over the CIA

The CIA's Deputy Director, Michael Morell, has just announced his retirement (effective in August). President Obama has stated that he will appoint a former Administration official, Avril Haines, as Morell's replacement. Haines played a major role in the development of Obama's new CT policy - establishing a new legal framework to govern US counter-terrorism operations.

Haines's arrival at the agency illustrates the Administration's desire to influence the CIA as an institution (both Brennan and Haines are former Administration officials). As the CIA pursues it's ongoing remit (and especially in the context of the NSA leaks), scrutiny of intelligence activities will heighten. Perhaps Obama believes that Haines can consolidate his position away from criticism that he's too permissive in terms of intelligence gathering methods.

It's also worth noting that by having two former officials as the two highest officers at CIA, Obama has embraced a far more intrusive approach to managing the agency than GW Bush. GWB's first CIA-DCI was Tenet (a successor from Clinton) and the DD's during Bush's tenure were all CIA officers or military personnel.
 Cofer Black - illustrates importance of CIA

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