The Washington Post

WH withdraws Avril Haines nomination for State, appoints her to CIA post

Please excuse our whiplash.

Less than two months ago, the White House announced that President Obama had picked Avril Haines, deputy assistant to the President and deputy counsel for national security affairs, to be the top lawyer over at the State Department.

But on Wednesday, the White House announced that Haines isn’t heading to Foggy Bottom — instead, she will be the CIA’s new deputy director, replacing the retiring Mike Morell (as our colleague Karen DeYoung reported).

That’s a most unusual move.

No doubt there’s disappointment over at State, where we hear Haines’s former colleagues (she was an attorney at State before getting plucked for the White House job) were looking forward to working with her again. And Secretary John Kerry was particularly eager to fill some of those top slots he has open with women and foreign service and career types (though we hear her switcheroo has his blessing).

And despite her change of destination, it looks as though Haines is still going to be a trailblazer: She would have been the first woman to serve as legal adviser at State (which the Loop noted earlier has been an all-boys club since the post was established under Herbert Hoover in 1931). But now she’ll be the first woman to serve as CIA deputy director.

Apparently, she was destined to crack a glass ceiling — just not at Foggy Bottom.

Correction: An earlier version of this post said that the position of State Department legal adviser was created in 1931 under Franklin D. Roosevelt. Herbert Hoover was president then.

Emily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen.


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