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Matthew Olsen nominated as director of National Counterterrorism Center

July 01, 2011|By Michael Muskal

Matthew Olsen, general counsel for the National Security Agency, has been nominated to become director of the National Counterterrorism Center, the White House announced Friday.


If confirmed by the Senate, Olsen, 49, will take over the agency created in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The agency provides intelligence assessments for the nation’s top officials.

 “I am pleased to nominate Matthew Olsen to be the next director of the National Counterterrorism Center,” President Obama said in a prepared statement. “Matt has a distinguished record of service in our intelligence community and I’m confident he will continue to build on our strong counterterrorism efforts.”


Olsen will replace Michael Leiter, who has served as director of the center since 2007, working for Obama and former President George W. Bush. Leiter’s departure has been known since early June when he resigned effective July 8.


A former Navy pilot, Leiter leaves after what has been one of the intelligence community’s major successes: the raid in Pakistan during which terrorist leader Osama bin Laden was killed.

In addition to the NSA, Olsen has worked in the intelligence field at the Justice Department and the FBI. From 2009 to 2010, he oversaw the task force that reviewed the intelligence on detainees held at the prison in Guantanamo Bay in Cuba.

From 1994 to 2006, Olsen was a federal prosecutor in the U.S. attorney’s office for the District of Columbia.

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