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Avril Haines Nominated As First Female Director Of National Intelligence

Avril Haines pictured in January 2020. If confirmed, Haines will become the first woman to become the director of national intelligence.
Win McNamee
Getty Images
Avril Haines pictured in January 2020. If confirmed, Haines will become the first woman to become the director of national intelligence.

President-elect Joe Biden selected Avril Haines as his director of national intelligence on Monday. Haines, 51, worked with Biden under President Barack Obama and led the Biden transition's national security and foreign policy team. She served as the White House deputy national security adviser and deputy director of the CIA. She was the first woman to hold both positions.

And now, if confirmed, she will become the first woman to head national intelligence.

In that role, she would oversee the National Intelligence Program, the National Security Council, the Homeland Security Council and advise the president.

Haines has the respect of many in the intelligence community, former CIA Director John Brennan told NPR. Her intelligence career spans over a decade: from the White House to the CIA, the NSC to the Department of State.

"[Haines] is widely respected among intelligence professionals, and her superior intellect, humility and legendary work ethic are deeply admired by the thousands of intelligence officers with whom she worked during the Obama Administration," said Brennan.

Brennan also said that her varied and extensive intelligence background will help the Biden administration hit the ground running in January.

"She enjoys the complete trust and confidence of Joe Biden, who will look to [Haines] to restore integrity and honesty at the helm of the intelligence community," said Brennan.

Biden is shaping his administration with diversity in mind. According to a press release, the Biden transition team hopes its members will more accurately reflect America and its people. Alejandro Mayorkas was nominated Monday as well. If confirmed, he will become the first Latino and immigrant to serve as the secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.

Previously, Haines was a senior research scholar at Columbia University and a senior fellow at Johns Hopkins University. She also serves on several boards and advisory groups, including the National Commission on Military, the Nuclear Threat Initiative and Refugees International.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Dustin Jones is a reporter for NPR's digital news desk. He mainly covers breaking news, but enjoys working on long-form narrative pieces.