News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Retiring CIA Official Michael Morell Joins Belfer Center as Senior Fellow

| September 13, 2013

CAMBRIDGE, MA - Michael Morell, a career intelligence officer who rose to become deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency, has been appointed a non-resident senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Belfer Center Director Graham Allison described Morell as “a legendary professional in the U.S. intelligence community,” noting that he played a central role in confronting all the key security challenges of the past decade, including the hunt for Osama bin Laden.

Morell retired from the CIA earlier this month after a career that began in 1980 as an analyst on energy issues. He served twice as acting CIA director, first in 2011, and again from 2012 to 2013. He was one of the CIA’s lead players in the search for bin Laden and was a regular participant in the White House security deliberations culminating in the raid that killed bin Laden in 2011.

Morell’s long intelligence career included 14 years covering East Asia, in which he rose to director of the Office of Asian Pacific and Latin American Analysis. He also served as the intelligence briefer to President George W. Bush, and he led the staff that produces the president’s Daily Brief. He held a senior overseas position from 2003 to 2006.

Morell earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Akron, and a master’s degree in economics from Georgetown University. As an intelligence officer, Morell necessarily kept a low public profile through his 33-year career; his retirement from the CIA allows him to be more visible. The CBS News program “60 Minutes” has scheduled an interview with Morell on Syria for broadcast this Sunday evening, and it plans a longer segment on Morell’s career next month.

Allison said Morell would bring strategic insights as well as hands-on expertise to a range of research initiatives at the Belfer Center, including a new Defense and Intelligence Project run by retired Army Brig. Gen. Kevin Ryan.

In a recent conversation with Allison, Morell said: “I am very much looking forward to working with the faculty, students, and other senior fellows at the Belfer Center.  I am excited to contribute to the first-rate scholarship that is produced at the Center, and I am honored to think that the students there will someday be in senior positions in governments around the world.”

Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, also a Belfer Center senior fellow who was a career intelligence officer, said, "I'm thrilled Michael is joining the Belfer family. Michael offers a wealth of knowledge and experience on intelligence, and the prominent role it plays in national security policy."

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Smith, James F.. “Retiring CIA Official Michael Morell Joins Belfer Center as Senior Fellow.” News, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School, September 13, 2013.

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