The Terror Consigliere

Fran Townsend, White House top adviser on homeland security, is the kind of take-charge woman Bush likes

Call it the Fran Townsend treatment. Once in 2004, when then Homeland Security Under Secretary Asa Hutchinson tried to beg off giving his department's view on raising the terrorism threat level to orange until he checked with his boss, Tom Ridge, Townsend cut him off. "I need to know now," snapped George W. Bush's top adviser for counterterrorism and homeland security. "The President will be calling, and I have to have an answer." When Representative Peter King, chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, phoned Townsend earlier this year to complain that the Coast Guard was dragging its feet on sending...

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