The CIA announced on Wednesday that Deputy Director Steve Kappes, a veteran operations officer, will retire next month and be replaced by longtime analyst Michael Morell, the agency’s current director of intelligence.
Mr. Kappes was a favorite CIA official among congressional Democrats after he quit the agency in 2004 to protest the leadership of then-Director Porter Goss, who had replaced George Tenet and charged that agency officials were orchestrating a press campaign to undermine the foreign policy of President George W. Bush.
Mr. Kappes was hired back in 2006 by Michael Hayden, who had replaced Mr. Goss as director.
Ishmael Jones, pseudonym for a former CIA deep-cover officer, criticized Mr. Kappes as a “defender of the status quo” who opposed needed intelligence reform, specifically as it relates to human intelligence gathering.
According to intelligence officials, Mr. Kappes quit the CIA in November 2004 along with a subordinate, Michael Sulick, after an argument that involved Mr. Sulick throwing a stack of papers at Mr. Goss’ aide, Patrick Murray. Mr. Goss then ordered Mr. Kappes to reassign Mr. Sulick to a post outside CIA headquarters, but Mr. Kappes and Mr. Sulick both resigned rather than make the change.
In a statement to CIA’s senior leadership, Director Leon Panetta said Mr. Kappes has “more than met the highest standards of duty to the nation.”
Mr. Morrell, who joined the agency in 1980, recently was named the agency’s point-man for improving counterterrorism analysis after the failed Christmas Day airplane bombing. On September 11, 2001, Mr. Morrell delivered to President Bush his daily intelligence briefing and stayed with him for the entire day.