Donilon would have preferred, but among the names at the top of the list is Michael Morell, former acting director of the CIA.

Both are candidates with extensive experience and familiarity with bureaucratic national security structures, but both have a background that has drawn criticism.

Morell has been accused of defending the CIA’s call for torture, which has also attracted opposition from influential Democratic senators. Donilon also has his critics saying that he is a tough boss who demands a lot of work without clear goals.

Another name on the list is Jeh Johnson, a former federal prosecutor who was Obama’s first attorney general. He tried unsuccessfully to close the Guantanamo Bay military prison.

Avril Haines has been named director of national services, a respected figure in the intelligence community who could have a say in selecting the CIA chief, according to two sources close to the decision-making process. One such source said Haines would prefer Morell, as he had previously been subordinate to Donilon on the National Security Council.

BarackObama’s vice president for eight years, Joe Biden has worked closely with both Tom Donilon and Michael Morell, writes He has already nominated former members of the Obama administration in important positions in the field of national security.

This position could be one of the most sensitive in the Biden administration. Republican Donald Trump has accused the CIA of being at the center of a plot to damage his presidency.