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National Counterterrorism Center Director

Matthew G. Olsen

Matthew Olsen small

Matthew G. Olsen was sworn in as the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC) on August 16, 2011 upon his confirmation by the U.S. Senate.  

NCTC has two core missions. The first is to serve as the primary organization in the U.S. government for analysis and integration of all terrorism intelligence.  In this role Mr. Olsen reports to the Director of National Intelligence. The second mission is to conduct strategic operational planning for counterterrorism activities integrating all elements of U.S. national power.  In this role he reports to the President of the United States.  

Prior to joining NCTC, Mr. Olsen served as the General Counsel for the National Security Agency where he was the chief legal officer for NSA and the principal legal advisor to the NSA Director.

Mr. Olsen previously served in the Department of Justice as an Associate Deputy Attorney General and was responsible for supervising and coordinating national security and criminal matters. He also was Special Counselor to the Attorney General and Executive Director of the Guantanamo Review Task Force.  In 2009 he managed the interagency process to implement the President’s executive order calling for a comprehensive review of the intelligence information pertaining to individuals currently detained at the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base.

Mr. Olsen served as the acting Assistant Attorney General for National Security during the presidential transition. He supervised the daily operation of the Department of Justice’s National Security Division. From 2006 to 2009 he was a Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the National Security Division and was responsible for the management of the Department’s intelligence operations and oversight. In this position, Mr. Olsen supervised the implementation of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act and advised government officials on intelligence activities and national security.

From 1994 to 2006 Mr. Olsen was a federal prosecutor in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia. From 2005-2006 he was the chief of the office’s National Security Section, where he supervised the investigation and prosecution of terrorism, espionage, and export violation matters. Mr. Olsen served as Special Counsel to the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation from 2004 to 2005.

Mr. Olsen graduated from Harvard Law School (J.D.) and the University of Virginia (B.A.).

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