Avril Haines

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Avril Haines
Avril Haines portrait.jpg
Deputy National Security Advisor
In office
January 11, 2015 – January 20, 2017
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byTony Blinken
Succeeded byK. T. McFarland
4th Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
In office
August 9, 2013 – January 10, 2015
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byMichael Morell
Succeeded byDavid Cohen
Personal details
Avril Danica Haines

(1969-08-29) August 29, 1969 (age 50)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)David Davighi
EducationUniversity of Chicago (BA)
Johns Hopkins University
Georgetown University (JD)

Avril Danica Haines (born August 29, 1969) is an American lawyer and former government official who served as the White House Deputy National Security Advisor, serving in Barack Obama's administration.[1] She previously served as Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, the first woman to hold this position.[2] Prior to her appointment to the CIA, she served as Deputy Counsel to the President for National Security Affairs in the Office of White House Counsel.

Her term as CIA Deputy Director coincided with the global surveillance disclosures, the CIA hacking into the computers of U.S. Senate employees, and the release of the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture. On December 18, 2014, President Obama announced that he would appoint Haines to replace Tony Blinken as White House Deputy National Security Advisor.[3]

Early life and education[edit]

Haines was born in the New York City borough of Manhattan on August 29, 1969, to parents Adrian (née Rappin) and Thomas Haines.[4] Her mother was a painter. Adrian developed chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and contracted avian tuberculosis, leading to her death when Haines was fifteen years old.[4] Her father is a biochemist and professor emeritus at City College, who helped found the City University of New York medical school, where he served as the chair of the biochemistry department.[5] After graduating from Hunter College High School, Haines traveled to Japan for a year and enrolled in Kodokan, an elite judo institute in Tokyo.[4] In 1988, Haines enrolled in the University of Chicago where she studied theoretical physics. While attending the University of Chicago, Haines worked repairing car engines at a mechanic shop in Hyde Park.[4] In 1991 Haines had taken up flying lessons in New Jersey, where she met her future husband, David Davighi. She later graduated with her Bachelor of Arts in physics in 1992.[6]

Haines in 2013

In 1992, Haines moved to Baltimore, Maryland where she enrolled as a doctorate student at Johns Hopkins University. However, later that year, Haines dropped out and alongside her future husband, purchased an auctioned bar in Fell's Point, Baltimore which had been seized in a drug raid;[4] turning the former bar into an independent bookstore and café.[7] She named the store Adrian's Book Cafe, after her late mother; Adrian's realistic oil paintings filled the store.[7][8] The bookstore won City Paper's "Best Independent Bookstore" in 1997 and was known for having an unusual collection of literary offerings, local writers, and small press publications.[9] Adrian's hosted a number of literary readings, including erotica readings, which became a media focus when she was appointed by the President to be the Deputy Director of the CIA.[10][11] She served as the president of the Fell's Point Business Association until 1998,[12] when she enrolled at the Georgetown University Law Center. Haines later received her Juris Doctor from Georgetown in 2001.[13]


L to R: Susan E. Rice, Avril Haines and Lisa Monaco, (2015)

From 2001 until 2002, Haines was a legal officer at the Hague Conference on Private International Law.[14] From 2002 until 2003, she served as a law clerk for United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Judge Danny Julian Boggs.[15]

From 2003 until 2006, Haines worked in the Office of the Legal Adviser of the Department of State, first in the Office of Treaty Affairs and then in the Office of Political Military Affairs.[16]

From 2007 until 2008, Haines worked for the United States Senate Committee on Foreign Relations as Deputy Chief Counsel for the Majority Senate Democrats (under then-chairman Joe Biden).[17] She then worked for the State Department as the assistant legal adviser for treaty affairs from 2008 to 2010.[18]

In 2010, Haines was appointed to serve in the office of the White House Counsel as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Counsel to the President for National Security Affairs at the White House.[19]

On April 18, 2013, Obama nominated Haines to serve as Legal Adviser of the Department of State, to fill the position vacated after Harold Hongju Koh resigned to return to teaching at Yale Law School.[20] However, on June 13, 2013, Obama withdrew Haines' nomination to be Legal Adviser of the Department of State, choosing instead to select her as Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency.[21] Haines was nominated to replace Michael Morell, the CIA's deputy and former acting director. The office of the deputy director is not subject to Senate confirmation, with Haines subsequently taking office on August 9, 2013, the final day of Morrell's tenure.[22] Haines was the first woman to ever hold the office of the deputy director.[23][24] She was also the first female Deputy National Security Advisor (DNSA).

During the Democratic National Committee email leak during the 2016 presidential campaign, Haines as DNSA convened a series of meetings to discuss ways to respond to the hacking and leaks.[25]

Haines was the CIA's first female Deputy Director, while Gina Haspel was the first female career intelligence officer to be named Deputy Director (having joined the CIA in 1985).[26][27][28][29][30][31]

After leaving the White House, Haines was appointed to multiple posts at the Columbia University. She is a senior research scholar working on the Columbia World Projects, a program designed to bring to bear academic scholarship on some of the most basic and fundamental challenges the world is facing. Haines is also a fellow at the Human Rights Institute and National Security Law Program at Columbia Law School.[32]

Haines also serves on the bipartisan National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service. The commission was created by Congress both to develop recommendations to inspire more Americans, in particular young people, to participate in public service and to review the military selective service process.[33]


  1. ^ "A Top Intelligence Officer Joins the Law School". Columbia Law School. Retrieved 2018-12-11.
  2. ^ AFP (2013-06-12). "Avril Haines appointed first female CIA deputy director". ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-12-11.
  3. ^ "Statement by the President on the Selection of Avril Haines as Deputy National Security Advisor" (Press release). White House. December 18, 2014. Archived from the original on 2016-11-10. Retrieved January 12, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e Daniel Klaidman (June 26, 2013). "The Least Likely Spy". Newsweek. Archived from the original on January 19, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2013.
  5. ^ Dana Rubinstein (July 15, 2008). "Serious Chemistry". New York Observer. Archived from the original on 2016-10-14.
  6. ^ Katherine Muhlenkamp (2013). "The University of Chicago Magazine". University of Chicago Press. Archived from the original on 2017-02-03. Retrieved 2013-11-29.
  7. ^ a b Mary Corey (January 9, 1994). "Food and coffee, with books, billiards and student chefs". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on 2016-12-20.
  8. ^ "President Obama's pick for the CIA's second-in-command once held erotica nights at her Baltimore bookstore". Daily Mail. June 13, 2013. Archived from the original on 2013-11-29.
  9. ^ Evan Serpick (2013-06-13). "New CIA number two was once a Fells Point fixture". City Paper. Archived from the original on 2014-02-21. Retrieved 2014-02-09.
  10. ^ "Erotica, High Heels, and Handbags: Is This How The Beltway Press Should Cover Powerful Women?". Media Matters. Archived from the original on 2016-12-20. Retrieved 2017-02-03.
  11. ^ Mary Corey (May 22, 1995). "Between The Covers Erotica Nights A Hot Item At Fells Point Bookstore". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on 2017-01-18.
  12. ^ Brenda J. Buote (January 4, 1998). "Fells Point debates tax to add desired services Benefits: Homeowners and merchants want a safer, cleaner neighborhood. But some residents don't think they can afford a community district levy". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on 2016-03-04.
  13. ^ Roxanne Roberts, Emily Yahr (June 13, 2013). "Avril Haines, new CIA #2, ran indie bookstore remembered for '90s 'erotica nights'". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on 2016-03-05.
  14. ^ Naomi Burke (April 23, 2013). "International Law: A Man's World?". Cambridge Journal of International and Comparative Law. Archived from the original on March 27, 2016. Retrieved November 29, 2013. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  15. ^ Lesley Clark; McClatchy News Service (June 12, 2013). "Changes at the CIA". mcclatchydc.com.
  16. ^ White House Office of the Press Secretary (April 17, 2013). "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts". whitehouse.gov.
  17. ^ Eyder Peralta; National Public Radio (June 12, 2013). "CIA Deputy Director Michael Morell Retires". npr.org.
  18. ^ Bonnie Malkin; The Daily Telegraph (June 13, 2013). "Avril Haines appointed first female CIA deputy director". telegraph.co.uk.
  19. ^ Kimberly Dozier (June 13, 2013). "CIA deputy director retires". Philadelphia Inquirer.
  20. ^ White House Office of the Press Secretary (April 18, 2013). "Presidential Nominations Sent to the Senate". whitehouse.gov.
  21. ^ Scott Shane (June 12, 2013). "C.I.A. to Get First Woman in No. 2 Job". The New York Times.
  22. ^ Karen DeYoung, Greg Miller (June 12, 2013). "CIA's deputy director to be replaced with White House lawyer". The Washington Post.
  23. ^ Jennifer Skalka Tulumello (June 13, 2013). "Why Obama chose woman with no CIA experience for No. 2 CIA job". Christian Science Monitor.
  24. ^ Adam Edelman (June 13, 2013). "New CIA deputy Avril Haines hosted erotica readings in the '90s". New York Daily News.
  25. ^ Eric Lipton, David E. Sanger, Scott Shane (2016-12-13). "The Perfect Weapon: How Russian Cyberpower Invaded the U.S." The New York Times. Washington DC. p. A1. Retrieved 2016-12-13. In a series of “deputies meetings” run by Avril Haines, the deputy national security adviser and a former deputy director of the C.I.A., several officials warned that an overreaction by the administration would play into Mr. Putin’s hands.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  26. ^ Suman Varandani (2017-02-03). "Who Is Gina Haspel? 5 Facts About Trump's CIA Deputy Director Pick". International Business Times. Retrieved 2017-02-03. Haspel joined the Central Intelligence Agency in 1985, and spent most of her career undercover. She has been part of several controversies, including her involvement in several torture programs conducted by the U.S. She also ran waterboarding and other interrogation techniques at some of CIA's "black sites" or secret prisons.
  27. ^ "Gina Haspel Selected to be Deputy Director of CIA". CIA. Archived from the original on 2017-02-03. Ms. Haspel is the first female career CIA officer to be named Deputy Director.
  28. ^ Paul Handley (2017-02-02). "Woman tied to secret interrogations to be CIA No. 2". Yahoo News. Washington DC. Archived from the original on 2017-02-04. Retrieved 2017-02-03. A longtime CIA clandestine operations official reportedly involved in its much-criticized "black site" interrogations after the 9/11 attacks was named number two at the US spy agency Thursday.
  29. ^ Oliver Holmes (2017-02-03). "CIA deputy director linked to torture at Thailand black site". The Guardian. Retrieved 2017-02-03. Kellyanne Conway, a senior White House aide and Trump’s former campaign manager, congratulated Haspel in a tweet, saying she was the first female to be second in command at the CIA. However, Avril Haines was the first woman to hold the position, from 2013-15.
  30. ^ Glenn Greenwald (2017-02-02). "The CIA's New Deputy Director Ran a Black Site for Torture". The Intercept. Retrieved 2017-02-03. That CIA official’s name whose torture activities the Post described is Gina Haspel. Today, as BuzzFeed’s Jason Leopold noted, CIA Director Mike Pompeo announced that Haspel was selected by Trump to be Deputy Director of the CIA.
  31. ^ "Gina Haspel becomes first female CIA deputy director". WDSU. 2017-02-02. Archived from the original on 2017-02-02. Retrieved 2017-02-03.
  32. ^ "Avril Haines | Inspire2Serve". www.inspire2serve.gov. Retrieved 2019-05-04.
  33. ^ "Who We Are | Inspire2Serve". www.inspire2serve.gov. Retrieved 2019-05-04.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
Michael Morell
Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
Succeeded by
David Cohen
Preceded by
Tony Blinken
United States Deputy National Security Advisor
Succeeded by
K. T. McFarland