One of America's top spies resigned Wednesday for what he claims are strictly personal reasons.
Michael Morell, the deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, turned in his resignation on Wednesday, the same day President Barack Obama appointed him to become a top intelligence adviser to the White House. His retirement will not prevent him from serving in this advisory role.
Morell cited only personal reasons for leaving the CIA.
"Whenever someone involved in the rough-and-tumble of Washington decides to move on, there is speculation in various quarters about the 'real reason,'" Morell said in a written statement. "But when I say that it is time for my family, nothing could be more real than that."
"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," he said.
His final day will be Friday, Aug. 9.
CIA Director John Brennan has appointed Avril Haines, the deputy assistant to the president and a legal adviser to the National Security Council, to replace Morell.
"I am extremely pleased to announce that [Morell] will be succeeded by Avril Haines, a tremendously talented public servant with whom Michael and I – and many other senior national security officials – have worked closely over the past several years," Brennan said in a written statement. "I wish to thank Michael and his family for their profound and lasting contributions to both our agency and our nation during more than three decades of distinguished service, and warmly welcome Avril and her husband as they become a very important part of our agency family."
The White House issued a statement minutes after the Associated Press broke the story outlining Morell's new role with the White House. A bio included in the release stated Morell is currently Langley's No. 2.
Positions on the advisory board are not full-time, and are usually populated by former U.S. government officials and other industry professionals.
Morell, a 33-year career CIA officer, held his latest position since May 2010, according to his bio on the agency's website. He has twice served as acting director of the agency, before and after former director David Petraeus served in the role from 2011 to 2012.
His career spanned many high profile events for the agency, including the search for and killing of Osama bin Laden. Leon Panetta, who served as CIA director at that time, thanked Morell for his contribution to those operations via a written statement on Wednesday.