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The Spy Who Came in from Erotica Night

New CIA deputy director hosted 'Erotica Night' at bookstore in the '90s

President Barack Obama attends a meeting in the Situation Room of the White House, April 2, 2013. Haines is at far right.
• June 13, 2013 11:24 am

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The woman that will be deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency once hosted a regular "erotica night" at a Baltimore bookstore in the 1990s.

Avril D. Haines, a White House national security lawyer, was named Wednesday as the successor to career officer Michael Morell in what was seen as a surprise move. She had been nominated earlier this year as legal counsel for the State Department, but when Morell decided to retire, Haines became the top candidate to replace him, Reuters reported Wednesday. The post does not require Senate confirmation.

Two decades ago, the Daily Beast reports, Haines was doing something pretty different: hosting "Erotica Night" at a bookstore she co-owned:

But 20 years ago, Haines opened and co-owned Adrian’s Book Café in the Baltimore waterfront neighborhood of Fells Point. She opened Adrian’s after dropping out of a graduate program in physics at Johns Hopkins University. The store featured regular "Erotica Nights." including dinner and a series of readings by guests of published work or their own prose, according to a 1995 report in the Baltimore Sun; couples could attend for $30, while singles paid $17.

"Erotica has become more prevalent because people are trying to have sex without having sex. Others are trying to find new fantasies to make their monogamous relationships more satisfying," Haines, then in her 20s, told the Sun. "What the erotic offers is spontaneity, twists and turns. And it affects everyone." (She also told Baltimore Sun reporter Mary Corey that friends heckled "you just want a mass orgy in your bookstore, while she and her co-owner were initially worried only "dirty old men" would show up.)

The event Corey attended at the bookstore featured a room lit with red candles where guests held chicken tostadas, waiting to eat as Haines read aloud the opening pages of The Claiming of Sleeping Beauty, by Anne Rice writing under the pseudonym A.N. Roquelaire.

Haines will be the first woman to serve in her new role.

Published under: CIA, Obama Administration