Lora Shiao to Be Acting Head of U.S. Counterterrorism Agency

Lora Shiao, a career U.S. intelligence officer, will be named as acting director of the National Counterterrorism Center, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence confirmed.

Acting DNI Richard Grenell is expected to make the announcement on Monday, agency spokeswoman Maura Beard said on Saturday. Shiao will be the first woman to hold the post.

Shiao’s appointment, which also means she’ll become the agency’s deputy director, will come as a relief to members of the intelligence community amid fears that Grenelldismissed her predecessor in the acting role, veteran counterterrorism official Russell Travers, as part of a political purge.

A person familiar with the situation denied that claim, saying Grenell had offered Travers several possible positions but that he’d chosen to retire instead. Grenell will also name Clare Linkins, another career staffer, as executive director, Beard confirmed.

Shiao is expected to be acting director until President Donald Trump’snominee for the NCTC job, Christopher Miller, a Pentagon special operations and counterterrorism official, is confirmed.

But with the U.S. in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic and elections set for November, that could take months, if it happens at all.

Shiao has been executive director of the NCTC since March of 2019 and has over two decades of experience in the intelligence community. Much of her work had focused on terrorist plotting against the US and terrorist activities in the Middle East, Africa, and Europe, according to her official biography.

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