Fran Townsend Resignation and the Unconnected Dots
By: Mark W Adams

Surprised? Steve Clemons was unprepared for the news that Fran Townsend, Bush's Counterterrorism and Homeland Security Adviser, no longer has an office in the White House. I don't think she left to take the job as Karl Rove's ghost writer at Newsweek.

We remember the edict from Chief of Staff Josh Bolton that anyone in the White House past Labor Day was in for the duration. Townsend didn't make it from Labor Day to Thanksgiving. Something's up. She serves at the pleasure of POTUS, and evidently, he was no longer pleased. With Karen Hughes leaving, this is the second unexpected resignation in as many months.

Here's your Speculation Points Memo:

Townsend has been on several "short lists" to replace high profile Administration staffers, including consideration as Homeland Security Director when Bernie Kerik discovered he had "nanny problems," and more recently as someone who could step into the Attorney General slot left vacant by Gonzales.

Her star has been on the rise right along, just having been put in charge of the Continuity of Government program last May. Her job did not even exist before "National Security Presidential Directive/NSPD 51” and “Homeland Security Presidential Directive/HSPD-20."

The document designates a National Continuity Coordinator, who would be the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.
That would be Fran, until this morning anyway.

When/if the shit hits the fan, Townsend's replacement will be the most powerful person on the planet -- cuz the PrezNitWit will be looking to the Continuity Coordinator to tell him how to "legally" declare himself President in Perpetuity.

The Kerik/Giuliani Connection? She knew Bernie Kerik best when he was up for the Homeland security gig, but wasn't consulted since she was up for the same job. She was a Brooklyn prosecutor and then moved to the US Attorney's office to put mobsters in jail and busting international crime syndicates under (who else) Rudy Giuliani. Guess which indicted former NYC Police Commissioner was assigned to the US Justice Department's New York Drug Enforcement Task Force during that time-period -- after he was fired as a security investigator for the Saudi Royals. Yeah, that Bernie Kerik.

They've met.

It seems, that she's been fighting the FISA battles since her friend Janet Reno was Attorney General, leaving the Justice Department in 2000 when she was thwarted in her effort to let the counterterrorist folks share the info they got from wiretapping with the criminal divisions -- willing to follow procedures that set up "the wall" but pushing it to its limits. At this point, I could only guess which side she is on in the current FISA debate, but nobody knows the ins-and-outs better. Reno put her in charge of the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review in 1998 -- the only gatekeeper the FBI and other agencies had before applying to the secret FISA Court to obtain warrants.

There are skeletons buried out there, and Fran Townsend knows where they are.

I'm most intrigued about her current position as Catastrophe Czarina. She had 90 days after her appointment on May 9th to come up with the Continuity of Government plan, which pretty much ignores the fact that a legislative or judicial branch exist, making the President alone responsible for "lead[ing] the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government."

Presumably, that document is now complete and is making the rounds inside the Administration along with the National Intelligence Estimate that the Vice President couldn't cook.

Got your tin-foil Freak-Out hat firmly in place? Check this out.

"This directive [for the Continuity of Government plan] shall be implanted in a manner that is consistent with, and facilitates effective implementation of, provisions of the Constitution concerning succession to the Presidency or the exercise of its powers, and the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 (3 USC 19), with the consultation of the Vice President and, as appropriate, others involved."

The document also contains "classified Continuity Annexes."

I don't think it was Bush who is no longer pleased with this lady who seems to have a firm grasp of what is and is not appropriate executive prerogatives as well as knowing all too much about surveillance of foreign terrorists.

She pissed off Dick.

It's that, or Hughes and Townsend said something nice about Hillary Clinton, which would have the same effect.


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