President Bush announced today that he will nominate retired Vice Adm. John Scott Redd to be director of the new National Counter-Terrorism Center in McLean, the country's primary agency for analyzing terrorist threats and planning counterterrorism operations at home and abroad.
Redd, 60, was executive director of the Silberman-Robb presidential commission on U.S. intelligence failures in Iraq. He is a former commander of U.S. naval forces in the Middle East, served in the Navy for 36 years and was also the Pentagon's director of strategic plans and policy on the joint staff. He recently served as deputy administrator and chief operating officer of the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad.
Bush made the announcement in a speech at the McLean center, which was established last fall under a presidential executive order. Redd will report to the Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte. His nomination requires Senate approval.
Under the law and the executive order, the center is to be the central organization for analyzing and integrating all foreign and domestic intelligence on terrorism. It is also to conduct "strategic operational planning" for counterterrorism operations at home and abroad "integrating all elements of national power."
During his speech, Bush also repeated his call to Congress to renew the USA Patriot Act, saying it has helped "save American lives and protected American liberty."
Bush said the Patriot Act "had made a difference to those on the front lines" of the war against terrorism.
The law, which extends the government's surveillance and law enforcement powers to track down potential terrorists, was quickly enacted after the Sept. 11 attacks on New York and Washington. But it has sparked a intense debate about balancing national security concerns with personal freedoms.