Now the acting director, Morell served as deputy CIA director to Petraeus since 2010. He has been the agencys director of Asian Pacific and Latin American Analysis and the briefer of presidents on national security matters.
In that position, according to a White House aide, Morell often briefed Obama as the United States closed in on Osama bin Laden, earning the presidents trust and developing a close relationship with him.
Morell is extraordinarily well respected in the White House, across the intelligence community and throughout the national security establishment, the aide said, discussing the deputys elevation to acting director.
The smartest thing Petraeus did was to form a partnership early on with Michael Morell, who was acting director before his arrival and resumed that role Friday. Morell is a career analyst and veteran of the mill that produces the famous PDB, or presidents daily brief, and he knew the agencys culture or at least the analysts version of it. His task was to encourage Petraeus when his commanders instincts made sense for the agency, and dissuade him when his ideas were counter-productive.
Michael J. Morell: Introducing the CIAs New Acting Director
Non-military chief of staff
To that end, sources tell Reuters that a long-time CIA insider not one of Petraeus guys has been named as his new chief of staff. One person familiar with the matter identified him as Rodney Snyder, who has previously worked on the White House national security staff. But US officials would not immediately confirm that name.
With Petraeus, there was particular concern that an imported staff would give the military too much influence in a civilian agency that has increasingly assumed paramilitary functions. That concern helped prompt Petraeus to retire and remove his uniform before taking the job.
During his decorated U.S. Army career, Petraeus was known for being followed by an extensive staff of advisers as he moved from one command post to another. He may add new hires after he settles into the job, but U.S. officials said his immediate staff is already intact.
His chief of staff is Rodney Snyder, a CIA analyst who also served as the intelligence chief for the Department of Homeland Security. Michael J. Morell, who served as acting director of the CIA after Panetta stepped down, will resume his deputy role.
But Petraeus has insisted he will be serving the president and the policymakers, providing information, but not shaping policy.
And the White House and Petraeus both have taken steps to make peace.
Obama has promised Petraeus regular, weekly access in a capital where face time with the president equals influence.
Petraeus agreed to hire Obama White House veteran, and longtime CIA employee Rodney Snyder to be his chief of staff. Snyder has spent the past few years at the NSC, as a senior official on intelligence and counterterrorism issues.
Hmph! With all the traveling Obama did in his first term, when did he ever find time to be available for the "famous 'PDB'"?