April 14th, 2010
01:00 PM ET

CIA deputy director steps down

Steve Kappes, the No. 2 man in the CIA, is retiring, CIA Director Leon E. Panetta said on Wednesday.

Kappes was a civilian operations officer for many years who reportedly was forced out of the CIA by Porter Goss' associates after Goss became director in 2004. He returned to the agency in 2006 and Panetta said he hadn't planned to stay on so long.

"When he told me a few months ago that it was time for him to move on, I understood," Panetta said.

Panetta said that when he joined the CIA in February 2009, he was "extremely pleased" Kappes stayed.

"He was a great partner and I, like so many others, valued his advice and experience. Steve is a one-of-a-kind professional who has dedicated himself to the CIA. He has helped me tremendously in guiding this great organization. Having worked side-by-side on some of the toughest issues around, I'm proud to call him a friend."

Kappes has been credited with pulling off the deal that persuaded Libya to give up its weapons programs.

His successor in the deputy director job will be Michael Morell, a 30-year veteran of the agency. He has spent much of his career in the directorate of intelligence, most recently as its chief.

"Michael has been part of the senior team for almost four years now. He knows the CIA from top to bottom. He understands intelligence as few others do - from collection and analysis to interaction with our customers. Michael has not only seen how the pieces fit together, he's actually brought them together."

Panetta said Fran Moore, deputy director for intelligence, will move up to become director for intelligence.

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soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Bulloch

    Retiring FROM the CIA is certainly better than "being retired" BY the CIA...so he should be happy.

    April 14, 2010 at 1:46 pm | Report abuse |
  2. victim of democrat hypocrisy

    If Michael Morell has all this experience and know-how, then why not make him the CIA Director instead of Clinton's Chief of Staff?

    April 14, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Eric

    That is funny. It's good to retire on your own free will.

    April 14, 2010 at 2:10 pm | Report abuse |
  4. James

    because the job of Chief of Staff to the President of the United States, is definitely more important than the Director of the C.I.A.

    April 14, 2010 at 2:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Tim M

    It's interesting to see the comments by people who have no clue about the CIA and the people who serve our country there. Mr. Kappes was a great American who dedicated his life to the safety of his nation. For those who get their ideas from Hollywood, buy a book, study the truth and gain respect for those who have kept you free and safe.

    April 14, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Navyboy

      I completely agree. Hollywood fueled thoughts have no place in an intelligent discussion. If you support your military, then why not for the most part these other hard working people who also put down their lives for their country. I'm not saying there isn't some dirty dealing, but there is everywhere, however that's mostly restricted to the upper echelons.

      July 22, 2010 at 11:45 am | Report abuse |
  6. caden

    My time to shine now.

    April 14, 2010 at 2:55 pm | Report abuse |
  7. John Doe

    Please do not believe anything and I mean anything our Government tells us. America is a sinking ship and there is no rescue in sight.

    April 14, 2010 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Shawn

    glad he was able to finish on his own terms.

    April 14, 2010 at 3:04 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Sammy

    Im sorry Tim M but I am one of those people who think the CIA has done alot more harm than good.

    April 14, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Nick

    At last, there is an opening now for Jason Bourne.

    April 14, 2010 at 3:23 pm | Report abuse |
  11. 2Cents

    There goes the neighborhood. Just what CIA needs is a second that thinks methods other than human assets will provide the information we need to get the bad guys. We need folks who have lived and breathed operational lives or we will be getting folks killed and no one will work with us.

    April 14, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Report abuse |
  12. matt

    great, now Panetta is left alone to run the CIA. think he'll get lost in the cafeteria without Kappes holding his hand?

    April 14, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Jeff

    Why is the CIA negotiating deals over Libya's weapons programs instead of the Department of State?

    April 14, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Chas

    When Pinetta says "He understands intelligence as few others do – from collection and analysis to interaction with our customers." Just who are the customers he's refering to?

    April 14, 2010 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Denell

    I would have to agree with Tim M. Those men and women are real heroes, real Americans, and wonderful people!

    April 14, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
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