Fran Townsend Resigns


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


23 comments on “Fran Townsend Resigns

  1. nutExcece says:

    Strony Internetowe Szczecin


  2. Alan says:

    As the author of the White House Lessons Learned report after Hurricane Katrina, Fran omitted the hospital with the highest patient death toll, LifeCare and its 24 patient deaths. Just weeks before Katrina sideswiped New Orleans, The Carlyle Group purchased LifeCare Hospitals and its 21 long term acute care hospitals.
    Just before Christmas, that same private equity firm closed on its purchase of ManorCare, a huge nursing home company. Yet, there was scant discussion of LifeCare’s record with patient safety. While Fran’s worked on her report that failed to include LifeCare or Tenet, both companies spent huge dollars on lobbyists. LifeCare also had its lawyers turn a Memorial Hospital physician into Joseph Hazelwood, only the jury didn’t buy it. Those creative legal minds came up with the novel idea of blaming the same federal government that just gave it a free pass in their official post mortem. Carlyle blames FEMA and will argue that patients became wards of the federal government as soon as FEMA evacuation teams set up in the New Orleans area.
    Fran’s last day at work was last Friday. She stated she wanted to do risk management for a big investment firm. It seems she started her work early.


  3. Kathleen says:

    Good riddance!!!


  4. El Caballo de Sangre says:

    Steve: I’m a little late to this thread, having followed the link from Sullivan after a day-and-a-half away from the computer. But please, if you read this, take it to heart, because I really love this blog: You’re a smart guy overall, but in the context of this post you’re a fucking moron. Anything defensible in a person’s character, intellect, etc. must, must, MUST be discounted if/when they make a conscious decision to serve, and speak of, this president in such a way.


  5. karenk says:

    The Sept 24th issue of Time Magazine quoted Frances Fragos Townsend attempting to downplay the most recent bin Laden video ridiculing the President: “This is about the best he can do. This is a man on the run, from a cave, who’s virtually impotent other than these tapes.”
    Fran, Fran, YOU are living in a cave. Bin Laden is not running HE’S HIDING!(apparently so well, it’s been 6 years and we can’t find him). And tell the people who blew up in London and Madrid and Iraq, etc, that he’s just a guy making tapes. For all we know he and/or his devotees could be planning a huge attack on us for tomorrow. May sound crazy, but it probably would’ve sounded crazy on Sept 10th as well…


  6. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Mr. President, you are such a man.”
    She must exercise the same criterias for admiration that Steve does.


  7. postmodernprimate says:

    To our great fortune Fran “Team Bush A-list Reasoned Advisor” Townsend and her deep pools of wisdom have turned their awesome penetrating gaze to the issue of historical comparisons to our current president. From her resignation letter:
    “In 1937, the playwright Maxwell Anderson wrote of President George Washington: There are some men who lift the age they inhabit, til all men walk on higher ground in their lifetime.
    Mr. President, you are such a man.”
    Clearly, she will be missed.


  8. roberto says:

    Fran’s epitaph should read “There was never any question in my mind.”
    I must be nice to be so damn sure about everything.


  9. Linda says:

    Towsend, Perino, and Rice are all very good at answering the questions they want to answer and avoiding the ones they don’t–good at communicating and staying on talking points. No doubt all of them are intelligent, but the policies they support are not good for this country.


  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “It’s getting so that I only look at your blog for dog pictures, Steve.”
    Dammit, thats not a dog, Kaplan. Thats John McCain with gas.


  11. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Tsk tsk tsk.
    Really Steve, this goes all the way back for your fawning admiration for the hopeless coward Reid, whose balls are in Roberts’ trophy case.
    Exactly what is the criteria by which you find someone qualified for your praise?? Not convicted of a felony yet? Size 6 1/2 shoes? Brown eyes? Blue eyes? Ten fingers? Inquiring minds would like to know.


  12. Cuspidor Cursor says:

    Bye-bye Ms. American Pie! Drove my Chevy to the levee and it was full of dead “detainees.” However, they had all been tortured first. Talk about your basic surrealistic horror story.


  13. Ajaz Haque says:

    I guess she has a book deal in the offing and doesn’t want to wait for January 2009 when the market value be at the lowest


  14. HyperIon says:

    FT, whom SC thinks did a very good job, wrote:
    In 1937, the playwright Maxwell Anderson wrote of President George Washington: There are some men who lift the age they inhabit, til all men walk on higher ground in their lifetime.
    Mr. President, you are such a man.
    Gag! Yes, she is EXCELLENT at sucking up.


  15. Publius says:

    Steve, you’re a smart guy. You sometimes demonstrate amazing insight. You’re clearly an American who believes in individual rights and all of the rest of the package.
    So why do you persist in saying good things about these people? Are you just so, so social and polite that you believe you’re friends with everyone you meet at a Washington party? This woman is a zero, a cypher, a political hack. And she’s not your friend. She doesn’t believe in the same things you believe in.


  16. Steve says:

    Outstanding site you have!
    Would you like a Link Exchange with ‘The Internet Radio Network’? At the IRN you can listen for free to over 50 of America’s top Talk Shows via Free Streaming Audio!!


  17. Ian Kaplan says:

    It’s getting so that I only look at your blog for dog pictures, Steve.
    As previous posters have shown so well, any “intellect” that Ms. Townsend demonstrated was, to be charitable, hidden beneath her consistently “on message” public statements. Was she another Bush idiot or did she just talk like one? And that balance to Cheney… How has that worked out, anyway. About all you can say is that the US has not bombed Iran. I really don’t think that we can credit Ms. Townsend for this.
    The only intellectually honest and talented people this administration has had have either resigned or been fired. Clearly this is not the case for Ms. Townsend.


  18. susan says:

    But before she goes, let’s take a moment to consider some of Townsend’s greatest hits. Because, let’s face it, she’s had a few doozies.
    Last month, for example, Townsend defended the Bush administration’s “harsh interrogation techniques” during an interview on CNN. She assured Americans that the abuse of detainees stops “if someone becomes cooperative.” (In other words, “We stop torturing when we get what we want out of the suspect.”)
    In July, Townsend appeared on NPR to talk about terrorist activities in Iraq. When the host asked if al Qaeda had any capabilities in Iraq before Bush launched his 2003 invasion, Townsend said, “I don’t know — I wasn’t at that briefing.”
    Also in July, Townsend told a national television audience that Americans can’t bring shampoo or bottled water on airplanes, but lighters are fine.
    Around the same time, Townsend couldn’t explain why the war in Iraq had become a boon for al Qaeda recruitment and fundraising.
    And finally, last December, Townsend was on CNN when she delivered one of my favorite lines of all time. CNN White House correspondent Ed Henry noted that, despite Bush’s promises, Osama bin Laden remains a free man. Henry suggested that this should probably be considered a “failure” in the war on terror. Townsend responded, “I’m not sure — it’s a success that hasn’t occurred yet.”
    So long, Fran. We hardly knew you.


  19. pauline says:

    Doesn’t the WH usually try to bury bad news late Friday evening so it gets buried in the weekend news? This resignation came Monday, or at least was announced today.
    So what can be gathered from that?
    I know one thing she never publicly stated — her acknowledgement of secret, extraordinary renditions.
    Of that, I can only conclude she was a loyal bushie, er cheney/addington, follower all the way…


  20. Brigitte N. says:

    I do not know why Townsend resigned but I do know that in literally all her public appearances she was 100% on message with whatever the White House/administration line was at the time–even when she talked in front of terrorism experts who knew better. I therefore wonder about her contributions to homeland security–an area that continues to be plagued by problems. Ask the members of the 9/11 Commission who gave miserable grades to the state of prevention and preparedness.


  21. joey says:

    Fran did a good job? Bet John O’Neill would disagree -had he not been assigned to work in the WTC. Fran knew the impending risk of 911…John O’Neill and Richard Clark warned her. That part is fact-the rest from Wikipedia:
    O’Neill started his new job at the World Trade Center in August 2001. (According to New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, “That Tuesday (9-11) was his first or second day on the job.”) He was appointed by Kroll Associates, namely by the controversial managing director Jerome Hauer. Later that month, he talked to his friend Chris Isham about the job. Jokingly, Isham said, “Well, that will be an easy job. They’re not going to bomb that place again.” O’Neill replied, “Well actually they’ve always wanted to finish that job. I think they’re going to try again.”
    O’Neill’s remains were recovered from the World Trade Center site on September 22, 2001 and identified by Jerome Hauer.[1] Richard Clarke would later recall that only “parts of” O’Neill had been recovered.[2]
    The unusual coincidence of O’Neill’s death is often cited by supporters of 9/11 conspiracy theories as evidence that the U.S. government was involved in the planning and execution of the attacks.


  22. linda says:

    right, cause we know how averse monkeyboy and his minions are to retaliation…


  23. pauline says:

    Here’s from CNN in late 2006 where Fran Townsend re-defines the word “failure”. Hey, no problem, it’s only words.
    ED HENRY: But now as 2006 ends, Osama bin Laden is still at large. Heading into 2007, how confident are you that he can be brought to justice this coming year?
    FRAN TOWNSEND: Well, there’s no question in my mind that he’ll be brought to justice. The real question is whether or not it’s going to be this year. I will tell you that I feel increasingly confident, you know, it was interesting. There’s a recent poll and the American people said 71 percent of them were optimistic that we can protect the country.
    And I think they’ve got reason to be optimistic. We’ve made a lot of progress. They see the progress we’ve made. We’ve disrupted plots. We’ve made reforms in our system, in our security system. So on bin Laden, do I think we are going to get him? I absolutely know we’re going to get him.
    The question is will it be this year. And I will tell you I think there’s increased activity both the part of the CIA, JSOC and our partners, the Pakistanis.
    HENRY: You know, going back to September 2001, the president said, dead or alive, we’re going to get him. Still don’t have him. I know you are saying there’s successes on the war on terror, and there have been. That’s a failure.
    TOWNSEND: Well, I’m not sure — it’s a success that hasn’t occurred yet. I don’t know that I view that as a failure.


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