Avril Haines, Director of National Intelligence

Avril Haines

Director of National Intelligence

Avril Danica Haines was born in August 1969 in New York City. She earned an undergraduate degree in physics from the University of Chicago. She worked on repairing car engines at a mechanic shop and also took flying lessons. She moved to Baltimore and enrolled as a doctoral student at Johns Hopkins. She later dropped out and opened an independent bookstore and café. She earned a Juris Doctor at the Georgetown University Law Center.

She clerked at the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, then went to work for the Office of the Legal Adviser of the Department of State. For two years, she was deputy chief counsel for the Senate majority under then-chairman Joe Biden and worked for the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.

She spent two years at the State Department as the assistant legal adviser on treaty affairs before being appointed to serve in the office of the White House Counsel as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Counsel to the President for National Security Affairs.

President Obama nominated Haines to serve as Legal Adviser of the Department of State, although the nomination was later withdrawn in favor of naming her as Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. She was later named Deputy National Security Advisor, the first woman to hold that position.

At the end of President Obama’s administration, Haines was appointed to multiple posts at Columbia University, ultimately becoming a fellow at the Human Rights Institute and National Security Law Program there.

She was nominated by President Joe Biden to be Director of National Intelligence. She was confirmed by the Senate and assumed office on January 21, 2021.

She is married to David Davighi. She is Jewish.

In the News…

The Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines has released six goals for the 18 government agencies that are involved in intelligence collection and analysis. 

In introducing the strategies, Director Haines said, “The United States faces an increasingly complex and interconnected threat environment characterized by strategic competition between the United States, the People’s Republic of China, and the Russian Federation, felt perhaps most immediately in Russia’s ongoing aggression in Ukraine.” 

First among her goals is strengthening intelligence operations against foreign adversaries including China and Russia. “The [intelligence community] must deepen and expand its expertise, strengthen its collection and analytic capabilities and embrace new partnerships and external perspectives to address policymaker needs in this more competitive environment,” the report states. 

She also includes in her strategies the need to “overcome long-standing cultural, structural, bureaucratic, technical and security challenges to reimagine and deliver the workforce of the future. … Diversity, equity, inclusion, accessibility, and other human capital initiatives will only succeed if they are subjected to rigorous and continuous analysis, evaluation, transparency, and learning,” the report states. 

Contact this Leader…

Did you pray for Director Haines today? You can let her know at:

The Honorable Avril Haines
Director of National Intelligence
Washington, DC 20511


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