By Pam Benson
Seemingly the perennial bridesmaid, Deputy CIA Director Mike Morell is retiring after a 33-year career.
His successor is Avril Haines, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama who will become the first woman to occupy the No. 2 spot.
Morell, 54, has been deputy director for the past three years and twice has been called to serve as acting chief.
The first time he covered a two-month gap in the summer of 2011 between the departure of Leon Panetta and the arrival of David Petraeus.
By Jill Dougherty
As the Obama administration debates further help for besieged Syrian opposition fighters, it is moving to aid Syrian civilians in opposition-controlled areas in rebuilding shattered towns and villages.
U.S. officials announced Wednesday they are easing economic sanctions on Syria, allowing the importation of equipment and technology into liberated areas of Syria. The steps are being coordinated through the Departments of State, Commerce, and Treasury.
Secretary of State John Kerry signed a limited waiver of the Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2003 that authorizes the export , subject to case-by-case review, of certain U.S. items.
By Larry Shaughnessy
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey told members of Congress on Wednesday that Army special forces in Tripoli were never told to "stand down" from rushing to Benghazi to help when the diplomatic mission there came under attack last year.
In doing so, he disputed the claims of Gregory Hicks, the former deputy chief of mission in Libya who testified last month before a House committee that a unit of four special forces troops was told to stand down rather than rush to Benghazi.
The September 11 attack killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.