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Another blow for Obama govt? Counter-terror chief to quit

June 10, 2011 20:33 IST

America's top counter-terrorism official Michael Leiter will quit next month, adding to the turmoil at the top levels of United States President Barack Obama's national security team.

Leiter, the director of the National Counterterrorism

Center will quit on July 8, New York Times quoted Obama administration officials as saying.

Leiter, 42, was one of the few senior national security officials from the Bush administration that President Barack Obama kept on. His departure will occur roughly when the White House is expected to release an updated counter-terrorism strategy that Leiter contributed to, the report said.

Leiter said he was stepping down for personal reasons and to allow his successor to "bring fresh eyes to the problems we face."

Leiter has been credited with overseeing the center's emergence as a key component of the US intelligence community, combing through thousands of threat reports each month for clues to looming terrorist plots, Washington Post reported.

Obama praised Leiter in a statement issued by the White House, calling him "a trusted adviser" who provided him with an in-depth understanding of terrorist activities that affect America's security.

Andrew Liepman, who was recently appointed deputy director of the NCTC, will serve as acting chief until a replacement is named, the Post said.

Some of Obama's top economic advisers have left him in the recent past.

Lawrence H Summers resigned as National Economic Council director to return to Harvard University; Peter Orszag left as budget director and eventually joined Citigroup; and Jared Bernstein. On June 6, White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Austan Goolsbee said he plans to resign and return to academia.

Image: Michael Leiter |  Photograph: Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

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