Obama taps Brennan for CIA; Falls native was acting director, and will remain with CIA

by JULIE PACE | Associated Press Published:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama announced Jan. 7 he will nominate White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan to lead the Central Intelligence Agency. He also chose former GOP Sen. Chuck Hagel as his next defense secretary, calling him "the leader our troops deserve."

The president called on the Senate to quickly confirm both.

"The work of protecting our nation is never done. We've got much to do," Obama said at the East Room announcement. "My most solemn obligation is the security of our people."

Deputy CIA director Michael Morell, a Cuyahoga Falls native, has been serving as the agency's acting director since David Petraeus resigned and was considered by Obama for the top job. Morell attended the Jan. 7 White House event, and Ben Rhodes, Obama's deputy national security adviser, said Morell is expected to stay at the CIA.

President Obama said in a statement Nov. 9 that Morell, the CIA's Deputy Director and a 1976 Cuyahoga Falls High School graduate, would be acting director of the CIA following the resignation of David H. Petraeus.

Brennan, 57, a 25-year CIA veteran, is a close Obama adviser who has served in his present post for four years.

The president praised him as one of America's most skilled and respected intelligence professionals.

Brennan withdrew from consideration for the spy agency's top job in 2008 amid questions about his connection to harsh interrogation techniques used during the George W. Bush administration.

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