President Bush has tapped veteran prosecutor Kenneth Wainstein to serve as his White House homeland security adviser as he moved to name another key counterterrorism official and defuse criticism that he has left important positions unfilled, says the Washington Post. He named Michael Leiter to be director of the National Counterterrorism Center, the principal intelligence organization for analyzing terrorist threats and conducting operational planning for counterterrorism efforts.
Leiter and Wainstein are well regarded, but the prolonged search for the two positions has drawn notice. Bush’s last homeland security adviser, Frances Fragos Townsend, announced her resignation in November, though she remained on the job until January. Newsweek reported that Bush was rebuffed in several attempts to fill the job. “It’s about time,” said David Heyman, director of the Homeland Security Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. While competent officials have been minding the store for the last several months, he said, “two things the president doesn’t want are new threats or even a new attack at a time when he has two chairs empty next to him.  That doesn’t look good.”