Counterterrorism chief announces resignation

Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Matt Olsen has announced his plans to resign later this year, according to the Obama administration on Wednesday.

"Most Americans may not know Matt Olsen’s name, but every American is safer because of his service," President Obama said in a statement, who said Olsen provided him with "wise judgment and counsel."

ADVERTISEMENT
Obama praised his leadership as "absolutely critical to our success in disrupting terrorist cells, thwarting attacks and protecting the American people from evolving threats at home and abroad."

"...I am especially grateful for his work to ensure that our counterterrorism efforts remain consistent with the rule of law and our values as a nation," he said.

Olsen, who has served in government for 24 years, took the position in 2011.

Democrats and Republicans both praised Olsen.

“Matt Olsen is an American patriot who worked tirelessly to keep America safe," said Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. "While it is much harder to determine the number of lives saved from thwarted terror attacks, there are no doubt many, many people alive in the United States and around the world today because of Matt Olsen’s service and persistent dedication."

Ranking member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Calif.) agreed: "As Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) for the past three years, Matt and his team have worked tirelessly to make the country a safer place."

An exact date for Olsen's departure was not given, but it is unlikely to happen until after the August recess.

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who served as former chairwoman and ranking member of the Homeland Security Committee, praised Olsen's service and called on the president to nominate a new director swiftly.

“Director Olsen’s resignation is a tremendous loss at a time when our nation faces mounting terrorist threats in a very dangerous world. I hope the President will expeditiously nominate a new leader matched to the daunting task of preventing and thwarting terrorist attacks,” Collins said.