National counterterrorism chief to retire at the end of year

National counterterrorism chief to retire at the end of year

Nicholas Rasmussen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, will retire at the end of the year, Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray CoatsCNN: Trump intel chief not consulted before decision to revoke Brennan's clearance Study: 3 of every 10 House candidate websites vulnerable to hacks West Virginia set to allow smartphone voting for those serving overseas MORE said Wednesday.

Rasmussen, a longtime federal employee and former member of President George W. Bush's National Security Council, has served in the agency's leadership since 2012. He became the director in 2014.

"Nick is deeply committed to the counterterrorism mission and has skillfully guided the nation through an evolving and complex terrorism threat environment," Coats said in a statement announcing Rasmussen's retirement.

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"His deep understanding of the intelligence needed to support senior decision makers has been invaluable, and he will be greatly missed as a leader in the intelligence and counterterrorism communities," he added.

Russ Travers, the center's deputy director, will serve as acting director until President Trump nominates a successor for Rasmussen, Coats said. 

Rasmussen joined the State Department in 1991 as a presidential management intern in the agency's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, and served for the next decade in a number of key positions, according to his official bio.

He joined Bush's National Security Council staff in 2001 as director for regional affairs in the Office of Combating Terrorism, where he focused on counterterrorism issues in the Middle East and Southeast Asia in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

He first began working at the National Counterterrorism Center in 2004, where he was responsible for producing U.S. counterterrorism assessments for the National Security Council and then-President Bush. He left the agency in 2007 to return to the National Security Council to serve as special assistant to the president and senior director for counterterrorism.