Trump to Nominate Nathan Alexander Sales to be @StateDept Coordinator for Counterterrorism

Posted: 2:41 am ET
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Mr. Sales publicly available bio (PDF) says that he is an Associate Professor of Law (May 2014-present) at Syracuse University College of Law in New York.  Prior to that, he was Assistant Professor of Law (January 2008-May 2014) at the George Mason University School of Law in Arlington, Virginia.

He previously worked at DHS’s Office of Policy as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy Development (July 2006-December 2007) and at DOJ’s Office of Legal Policy. His bio says that he “Managed Justice Department “war room” during confirmation of Chief Justice John Roberts.” It also says he received Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service (Justice Department’s highest honor) in 2002, for his role in drafting the USA PATRIOT Act and in 2003, received the Attorney General’s Distinguished Service Award for his role in judicial confirmation process.  He served as a law clerk for David B. Sentelle at the U.S. District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia from July 2000-July 2001.

If confirmed, Mr. Sales would succeed career diplomat Tina S. Kaidanow who was appointed to CT from 2014-2016 (see Bureau of Counterterrorism’s Tina Kaidanow Moves to Pol-Mil Affairs, Justin Siberell Now Acting Coordinator).  Mr. Siberell, a career FSO was nominated to be Coordinator for Counterterrorism to head the Bureau of Counterterrorism and Countering Violent Extremism (CT/CVE) in September 2016. The nomination was not acted by the Senate and was returned to President Obama in January 2017 (see @StateDept Nominations Forgotten By the Senate Time Lords of the 114th Congress). 

Below is a quick description of this position:

On Aug 1, 1976, the Department of State elevated the position of Special Assistant to the Secretary of State and Coordinator of the Office for Combating Terrorism to that of Director of the Office for Combating Terrorism, with rank equivalent to an Assistant Secretary of State. All Directors have been designated by the Secretary of State, not commissioned. The Department had established the earlier position in October 1972 to head an interagency working-level committee charged with addressing the problem of international terrorism.

The State Department website notes that in 1994, Congress officially mandated the Bureau of Counterterrorism in Public Law 103-236 [H.R. 2333]. In 1998, Congress further defined the role of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism in Public Law 105-277 [H.R. 4328]:

“There is within the office of the Secretary of State a Coordinator for Counterterrorism…who shall be appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate…. The principal duty of the coordinator shall be the overall supervision (including policy oversight of resources) of international counterterrorism activities. The Coordinator shall be the principal adviser to the Secretary of State on international counterterrorism matters. The coordinator shall be the principal counterterrorism official within the senior management of the Department of State and shall report directly to the Secretary of State. The Coordinator shall have the rank and status of Ambassador at Large.”