Tidbits for Political Junkies with Short Attention Spans & Hearty Appetites


Monday, May 03, 2004

Richard Clarke Successor Watch

Help me out on this folks. Just over a month ago, I wrote a brief post on the string of successors to Richard Clarke’s anti-terrorism post, figuring that maybe we should keep an eye on these folks. Today, there’s more – but first some background.

So far, one of Clarke’s successors quit in frustration to become a consultant and NBC military analyst (Gen. Wayne Downing), another quit in frustration to become John Kerry’s Foreign Policy Advisor (Rand Beers); then the next was promoted (or kicked upstairs) to the post of Homeland Security Advisor (John Gordon), followed by the latest to hold the post, Fran Townsend. I joked at the time that, given the track record of her predecessors, Ms. Townsend “might well be in line for a promotion.”

Well, apparently she was. Today, deeply buried in an AP article that reads like a puff piece from the subject’s own publicist, we learn that -- sure enough -- Fran Townsend has a new job:

On Friday, she was promoted to homeland security adviser at the White House, responsible for coordinating strategies for protecting Americans. She will hold onto her anti-terrorism duties until a replacement is named.

Now what I’d love to know – and here’s where I could use some help – is what exactly is going on here? For starters, what is the current status of John Gordon, who last we heard also held the title of “Homeland Security Advisor.” Is he moving on to something else, or will there be several "Homeland Security Advisors"? Are there any candidates for Ms. Towsend's replacement? If not, why not? And what does it say about the priorities of the Bush adminstration that the nation's most senior counter-terrorism post is now apparently a part-time job?

And more to the point, why isn’t anyone in the press even asking the question?

Just asking....


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