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CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell steps down

Mark Wilson, Getty Images

Acting CIA Director Michael Morell walked through the Capitol to attend a meeting after being called on to fill in as acting CIA Director after the resignation of David Petraeus.

As President Bush’s briefer during the Sept. 11 attacks, an eyewitness to President Obama’s reaction when Osama bin Laden was captured, and a key figure following the resignation of former CIA Director David Patraeus, Deputy CIA Director Michael Morell’s 33 years of service have certainly been eventful.

On Wednesday, he announced his retirement.

In a statement released by the CIA, Morell briefly referred to some of the challenges he had experienced in his tenure with the CIA and added, "Whenever someone involved in the rough and tumble of Washington decides to move on, there is speculation in various quarters about the 'real reason.'  But when I say that it is time for my family, nothing could be more real than that."

It was simultaneously announced  by the White House that Obama was appointing Avril Haines as the new CIA deputy director.

Morell was named interim CIA Director when Petraeus stepped down in November, but was passed over for the permanent position.

The man Obama chose to lead the agency in his place had kind words for his colleague.

"Michael has tackled some of the toughest assignments that CIA has to offer," said CIA Director John O. Brennan in a statement. "And over the past three months, Michael’s support and counsel to me have been invaluable, and I cannot thank him enough for helping me with my transition back to CIA."

Brennan also sang the praises of Haines, saying, "I very much look forward to Avril bringing her expertise, intellect, integrity, and dedication to national security to our Agency."

Haines currently works as the deputy assistant to the president and legal adviser to the National Security Council.

Morell's retirement becomes official on August 9.