Morell earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Akron and a master’s degree in economics from Georgetown University.
Morell began his CIA career in 1980 as an analyst covering international energy issues. He later worked on East Asia for 14 years, holding a number of jobs in analysis and in management before his selection in 1999 as Director of the Office of Asian Pacific and Latin American Analysis. He also served as the intelligence briefer to President George W. Bush, as chief of the staff that produces the President’s Daily Brief, and as an executive assistant to CIA Director George J. Tenet. After those assignments, Morell held a senior position overseas from 2003 until mid-2006. Upon his return to the United States, he served briefly as a Deputy Director at the National Counterterrorism Center, where he was in charge of analysis.
Morell was appointed Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency in May 2010. he served as Acting Director twice, including for four months before the appointment of CIA Director John Brennan in March 2013. Morell previously spent two years as the head of the Agency’s main analytic arm, the Directorate of Intelligence. Before that job, Morell served as the CIA’s Associate Deputy Director from 2006 until 2008, dealing with the overall leadership of the Agency and focusing in particular on its internal management.