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Number 2 at CIA Moves to White House

Avril Haines will succeed Tony Blinken, who is leaving the post to serve as deputy secretary of state.


The selection of Avril Haines to serve as deputy to National Security Advisor Susan Rice will put an Obama administration veteran with a long record in the intelligence and foreign-policy worlds into a powerful role in a White House working to burnish its legacy while battling accusations that it has centralized power and micromanaged key decisions.

Haines, the current deputy director of the CIA,  will join Rice and Homeland Security Advisor Lisa Monaco as one of three women in the White House’s top national security and foreign-policy positions. Another well-regarded female Democratic policymaker, Michèle Flournoy, had been President Barack Obama’s top choice to replace outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon.

Rice said her new deputy was known for “her keen intellect, her intense dedication to serving the American people, and her proven ability to get things done.”

The former deputy CIA director will succeed Tony Blinken, who will leave the post to serve as deputy secretary of state. In her new role at the White House, Haines will head meetings of cabinet and agency deputies in preparation of policy options for review by the president and senior officials.

It will be a tough job. The White House is struggling to devise strategies for defeating the Islamic State and countering Russian President Vladimir Putin abroad while fighting accusations at home that it makes all key decisions itself while ignoring cabinet members and other top officials.

via John D. (Jay) Rockefeller IV/flickr

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