Who Is Avril Haines And Why Should I Care?


Who in the world is Avril Haines, and why should I care? This is the first in the series Meet The Women of Joe Biden’s Administration: Avril Haines. I hope you enjoy hearing about this amazing woman as much as I enjoyed writing them. You will like her.

Avril Hanes is the new Director of National Intelligence (DNI). That would be the job that Mike Flynn left so quickly and oh, so unceremoniously. Not only that, she is the first woman to hold down this job. She will automatically oversee 16 departments.

Her Quote:

‘To our intelligence professionals, the work you do — oftentimes under the most austere conditions imaginable — is just indispensable.’

In A Nutshell

  • First Woman to Head Intelligence
  • Deep Experience in National Security
  • Experience in the Private Sector
  • Small business owner
  • Multi-faceted
  • Brilliant and longtime friend of the president-elect.
  • Has the same sort of smile as Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris

What Shaped Her?

Avril Danica Haines spent her early high school years taking care of her sick mother, who was a painter. When Haines was 15, her mother died from avian tuberculosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Ever since, Avril Hanes has been blowing through the male-dominated illusions.

Her father is a biochemist and professor emeritus at City College. He started its medical school, and he also chaired the biochemistry department.

This intrepid woman grabbed her high school diploma and headed out to Japan for a year. When she came back in 1988, she enrolled in the University of Chicago and studied theoretical physics. In her spare time, she repaired car engines for a Hyde Park mechanic. Haines also began flying where she met her husband David Davighi.

Her Quote:

When she received the Biden nomination, she said:

‘Mr. President-elect, you know I’ve never shied away from speaking truth to power. I accept this nomination knowing that you would never want me to do otherwise … even when what I have to say may be inconvenient or difficult, and I assure you, there will be those times.’

What Others Say About Her:


‘Brilliant, humble. Can talk literature and theoretical physics, fixing cars, flying planes, running a bookstore-cafe, all in a single conversation, because she’s done all that.’

CIA officer Rollie Flynn:

‘She has serious credentials. She is a really smart person, a person with serious horsepower and a nice person. I don’t think you’re going to see a lot of drama out of her. Just a serious professional.

‘Having myself come up in the days when there weren’t very many women in leadership positions, to me it’s very significant. There are so many women who for years have been capable of holding those jobs. And so I think to actually see that come to fruition is a terrific thing.’

What You Do Not Know — Yet

  • Haines went To Tokyo Japan’s Kodokan, an elite judo institute where she earned a brown belt
  • She dropped out of a doctoral program to buy a bar with her husband, which had been seized in a drug raid. They transformed it into an independent book cafe.
  • The cafe/bookstore featured her mother’s painting plus and an eclectic collection of literary offerings, local writers, erotica reading nights, and small press publications
  • She loves to rebuild cars and planes, then learned to fly
  • She bought a used Cessna and rebuilt the avionics herself and tried to fly across the Atlantic Ocean and crash-landed near the Newfoundland coast.’


  • Her undergraduate degree was in theoretical physics
  • Doctoral student at Johns Hopkins University
  • Georgetown University Law Center


  • First woman as Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency in Obama administration.
  • Deputy Counsel to the President for National Security Affairs in the Office of White House Counsel.
  • Tony Blinken’s replacement as White House Deputy National Security Advisor in the Obama White House
  • National Commission on Military, National, and Public Service to review the military selective service process. Developed recommendations to inspire more Americans, in particular young people, to participate in public service.
  • Fellow at the Human Rights Institute and National Security Law Program at Columbia Law School.

  • Columbia University, Columbia World Project senior research scholar working on the Columbia World Projects
  • First female Deputy National Security Advisor (DNSA).
  • Discover whether CIA personnel involved in the hacking of the computers of Senate staffers authoring the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture. She chose not to discipline them.
  • First woman as Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency
  • White House Counsel as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Counsel to the President for National Security Affairs Office at the White House.
  • State Department as the Assistant Legal Adviser for Treaty Affairs
  • US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations as Deputy Chief Counsel for the Majority Senate Democrats
  • US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations as Deputy Chief Counsel for the Majority Senate Democrats
  • Office of the Legal Adviser of the Department of State in the Office of Treaty Affairs
  • Legal Officer at the Hague Conference on Private International Law. Law clerk for US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit Judge Danny Julian Boggs.

Boards and Advisory Groups

  • The Nuclear Threat Initiative’s Bio Advisory Group
  • The Board of Trustees for the Vodafone Foundation
  • The Refugees International Advisory Council.


  • https://www.nytimes.com/2020/11/24/us/politics/biden-nominees-national-security.html
  • https://www.npr.org/2020/11/30/939722113/the-winding-journey-of-avril-haines-bidens-pick-to-lead-u-s-intelligence
  • https://peoplepill.com/people/avril-haines/
  • https://www.centerforhealthsecurity.org/event201/players/haines.html

Featured image is a screenshot via YouTube.

The Mueller Report Adventures: In Bite-Sizes on this Facebook page. These quick, two-minute reads interpret the report in normal English for busy people. Mueller Bite-Sizes uncovers what is essentially a compelling spy mystery. Interestingly enough, Mueller Bite-Sizes can be read in any order.