I have just received some surprising news. I’m just back from China as of late last night and have not been in the loop on whether this was expected or not, but President Bush’s Adviser on Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Fran Townsend has resigned.
I just received this announcement from the White House:
Over the past four and a half years, Fran Townsend has served my Administration with distinction as Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism. Fran has always provided wise counsel on how to best protect the American people from the threat of terrorism. She has been a steady leader in the effort to prevent and disrupt attacks and to better respond to natural disasters.
Fran’s remarkable career as a public servant has spanned more than two decades. She has prosecuted violent crimes, narcotics offenses, mafia cases and white collar fraud as an Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn and as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Manhattan. During her career, Fran worked to protect the American people as the Counsel to the Attorney General for Intelligence Policy, the Assistant Commandant for Intelligence at the U.S. Coast Guard and as the Deputy National Security Advisor for Combating Terrorism at the National Security Council.
With her extensive experience, intellect and candor, Fran has ably guided the Homeland Security Council. She has played an integral role in the formation of the key strategies and policies my Administration has used to combat terror and protect Americans. She has traveled the world to meet with allies in the Global War on Terror and has partnered extensively with first responders at the state and local level to enhance our preparedness. We are safer today because of her leadership.
Laura and I wish Fran, her husband John, and their two sons, James and Patrick, all the best.
Fran Townsend, in my view, actually did a very good job and was one of the more reasoned advisers that Bush kept close to him. In my estimation, she was an important balance to Vice President Cheney’s national security advisor John Hannah.
I recently saw Townsend in the Mayflower Hotel’s bar sitting and drinking with Hillary Clinton’s Senate spokesman Phillippe Reines. I hope that my disclosure of that meeting — which I removed from my blog as a courtesy to a journalist who got caught in the crossfire of my revelations — then did not have any impact on this decision of Bush and Townsend to separate. I can’t believe it would have, but then again, I don’t know anyone who knew Townsend was stepping down.
If I learn more, I’ll post.
— Steve Clemons