Grenell taps new acting director of National Counterterrorism Center

Grenell taps new acting director of National Counterterrorism Center

Acting Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Richard Grenell on Monday tapped a new counterterrorism chief to temporarily lead the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), a move that comes amid a shakeup in the center's leadership.

Lora Shiao, a career intelligence official who will serve as the NCTC's next deputy director, will also become its first female acting director until the Senate confirms a permanent replacement.

Shiao has a long record of intelligence experience, previously serving in multiple roles at the NCTC as well as the FBI and Pentagon. She also was an intelligence briefer to the attorney general and FBI director during the George W. Bush administration. She now serves as the center's No. 3 official.

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Shiao is slated to take over the role April 3. Clare Linkins, meanwhile, will take over for her as the next NCTC executive director.

“Acting DNI Grenell is excited and proud to promote Lora and Clare to these critical positions, where they will lead the nation’s efforts to counter terrorism. Lora and Clare are both NCTC veterans, with more than 25 years of combined experience at the Center," Amanda Schoch, assistant director of National Intelligence for Strategic Communications, said in a statement.

"Under their direction, NCTC is well-postured to lead the counterterrorism mission into the future," the statement continues.

The NCTC, which was formed after 9/11, is part of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence that works to unify "counterterrorism intelligence for the homeland and abroad" while "driving whole-of-government action" to protect the nation from attacks, according to its website.

Shiao's appointment comes after Russell Travers, who is the acting director, chose to step down from the interim position. According to reports, Travers had already been considering retiring, but when Grenell sought to shuffle the leadership at the center — offering Travers another senior government role — he ultimately chose to retire.

Last week, President TrumpDonald John TrumpWith VP pick, Biden can't play small ball in a long ball world Coronavirus hits defense contractor jobs Wake up America, your country doesn't value your life MORE tapped Christopher Miller, who serves as the deputy assistant secretary of Defense for special operations and combating terrorism, to fill the key intelligence role as the next director, if the Senate confirms him.

Travers, who is expected to vacate the position over the next several weeks, explained to colleagues in a letter that Grenell wanted to assemble “a new team to best support” Miller after he is confirmed, The New York Times reported