Biden DNI pick Avril Haines raises eyebrows with previous job at bookstore known for erotica readings

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Long before she was nominated by President-elect Joe Biden to oversee the nation’s intelligence apparatus, Avril Haines co-owned an independent bookstore that hosted "erotica nights."

Haines, now 51, ran Adrian’s Book Café – named after her mother – in the 1990s in Baltimore’s Fells Point neighborhood. She opened the bookstore after dropping out of a graduate program in physics at Johns Hopkins University, the Daily Beast reported in 2014.

President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee to be Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines speaks at his transition headquarters in the Queen Theater in Wilmington, Delaware.
(Getty Images)

In addition to serving food, the restaurants featured "Erotica Nights," which including dinner and published authors reading their own work, according to a Baltimore Sun report from 1995. Couples could attend these readings for $30, while singles paid $17.

Still in her early 20s, Haines told the paper that "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 relationship more satisfying," Haines said.

Some of these readings featured candle-lit rooms, and chicken tostadas for dinner, according to the Sun.

These readings came under renewed attention when President Barack Obama appointed Haines to be the Deputy Director of the CIA, which she served from 2013 to 2015. She then served as principal deputy national security advisor from 2015 to 2017.

Haines, who was the first woman to hold both of those positions, now has the distinction of being the first woman to lead the intelligence community.

Last week, Haines disclosed being a consultant at WestExec Advisors and collecting around $55,000 in fees between October 2017 and last summer. In a separate letter to ethics officials, Haines promised to recuse herself for one year in issues involving WestExec as well as her other past employers, including Columbia University, Syracuse University and the Brookings Institution think tank.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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