Obama to Revamp Counterterrorism Efforts: Report

Thursday, 08 Jan 2009 09:43 AM

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WASHINGTON -- President-elect Barack Obama will revamp the way the U.S. government coordinates counterterrorism efforts, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.

The newspaper, citing people close to the presidential transition, said on its website that Obama would abolish the White House homeland security adviser's office and transfer its responsibilities to the National Security Council. A deputy national security adviser would oversee plans to guard against terrorism and also respond to natural disasters, the Times said.

CIA veteran John Brennan will be named to that post, Democrats close to the transition told the newspaper. Brennan was mentioned as a possible candidate for the post of CIA director, but the Times said criticism of his views on interrogation and detention scuttled that.

The paper said final decisions about domestic security positions would not be made until Obama's advisers conducted a formal review. But people involved with the discussions told the Times the only real questions appeared to be how to fold domestic security responsibilities into the National Security Council and how to make sure domestic security did not appear to be a lower priority.

Under the restructuring, Brennan would report to Gen. James Jones, the retired Marine commandant expected to serve as national security adviser, the Times reported. Dozens of staffers working for the homeland security adviser would likely be transferred to the National Security Council staff, the paper said. The Department of Homeland Security would be unaffected by the changes, according to the Times.

National security adviser Stephen Hadley and other aides to President George W. Bush urged Obama's advisers not to get rid of the special homeland security office because it could load too many responsibilities on the National Security Council, the Times said.

© Thomson Reuters 2009 All rights reserved

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