One Police Plaza

Security Nominee

Bush taps NYPD official for Homeland job

March 22, 2003

The New York Police Department's counterterrorism head, Frank Libutti, will be leaving to join the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

An announcement Friday by the White House said that President George W. Bush planned to nominate Libutti, a former Marine Corps lieutenant general, as Homeland Security's undersecretary for information analysis and infrastructure protection.

Libutti is expected to be nominated and sworn into office within two months, officials said.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Libutti would remain in his job as deputy commissioner of counterterrorism until his appointment. In a statement released yesterday, Kelly called Libutti "an invaluable member" of the department.

It was not immediately clear what his new position will entail. The White House's announcement said Libutti had previously served as a special assistant for homeland security at the Department of Defense.

Kelly appointed Libutti in January 2002 as part of his attempts to forge a new unit in the department following the attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.

Libutti was never made available for interviews with reporters, but his job was believed to involve training department officials by using training films.

A 35-year Marine veteran and a Long Island native, Libutti described his appointment at the time as "coming home."

When Kelly appointed Libutti, he also appointed David Cohen, a former CIA official, as deputy commissioner of intelligence. Cohen is not believed to be planning to leave the department.

Word had circulated a month ago that Libutti was leaving, but Kelly denied it at the time.

©2003 Newsday, Inc.Reprinted with permission.