Michael Morell

Fall 2016 Resident Fellow

Former Acting Director of the CIA

Office Hours | Wednesdays, 9:30 - 11:30 am & Thursdays, 2 - 4 pm. Sign up here.

Seminar Information | "Inside the CIA: The Business of Intelligence" (STUDENTS ONLY), Wednesdays at 3 - 4:15 pm (and an additional seminar on Monday, Oct. 17). All seminars are at the IOP, 5707 S Woodlawn Ave, except the 10/12 session at Harris. Learn more

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Michael Morell, former Acting Director of the Central Intelligence Agency during the Obama Administration, is one of our nation’s leading national security professionals. He has been at the center of the U.S. fight against terrorism, its work to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and its efforts to respond to trends that are altering the international landscape — including the Arab Spring, the rise of China, and the cyber threat.

Since leaving the CIA in 2013, most of his work remains tied to national security. He is a national security commentator for CBS News and a frequent guest on the Charlie Rose Show. He is a Senior Fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government; a Senior Fellow at West Point’s Center on Combatting Terrorism; a member of the Aspen Institute’s Homeland Security Group, which advises the Secretary of Homeland Security on national security issues; a member of the Board of Director’s of the Atlantic Council, a member of the Advisory Board to the University of Chicago’s Project on Security and Terrorism, and a member of the Atlantic Council’s advisory group to its study on the future of the Middle East. He served as a Member of President Obama’s Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technology. Michael also is involved with charities associated with supporting the families of fallen soldiers and intelligence officers.

Michael is the author of the New York Times bestseller on CIA’s nearly 20-year fight against al Qa`ida. “The Great War of Our Time:  An Insider’s Account of the CIA’s Fight Against Terrorism – From al Qaida to ISIS” was released in 2015.

During his 33-year career at CIA, Michael served as Deputy Director for over three years, a job in which he managed the agency’s day-to-day operations, represented the agency at the White House and Congress, and maintained the agency’s relationships with intelligence services and foreign leaders around the world. Michael also served twice as Acting Director in 2011 and from 2012 to 2013.
Michael is the only person who was both with President Bush on September 11th, when al-Qaida burst into the American consciousness, and with President Obama on May 1, when Bin Laden was brought to justice. Michael played a major role in the Bin Laden operation.

Michael’s senior assignments at CIA also included serving for two years as the Director of Intelligence, the agency’s top analyst, and for two years as Executive Director, the CIA’s top administrator — managing human resources, the budget, security, and information technology for an agency the size of a Fortune 200 firm.

Michael received the Presidential Rank Award for exceptional performance — the nation’s highest honor for civilian service. He also received the Distinguished Intelligence Medal, CIA’s highest award, for his role in the Bin Ladin operation. Michael is also the recipient of the Distinguished Career Intelligence Medal, the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal, and the Department of Defense Service Medal.   

A native of Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, Michael maintains close ties to northeast Ohio. Michael is a first-generation college student, earning a B.A. summa cum laude in economics from the University of Akron. He also earned an M.A. in economics from Georgetown University. Two of his children are current University of Chicago students and one is a graduate.