This article is about the U.S. Homeland Security advisor. For the old-age pension advocate, see Francis Townsend
Early life and education
Frances Mary Fragos
was born on December 28, 1961 in Mineola
, New York
the daughter of John Fragos, a Greek American
roofer, and Dorothy, an Irish American
office manager for a construction company.
Raised in Wantagh
, Long Island
Townsend was the first in her family to finish high school
At the age of 11, she penned letters requesting that she be allowed to be an altar boy
, first to her priest, then to the bishop, the Cardinal, and ultimately to the Vatican. After her requests were refused, her priest caught her trying to sneak into Mass with a borrowed robe.
Her parents were determined that their only child should receive a college education
, but could not afford to send her to school.
Townsend saved money by accelerating her course load, waiting tables
and working as a dormitory adviser
Townsend moved to the Justice Department in the early 1990s to work on international legal matters.
In 1991, she worked in the Office of the Attorney General to assist in establishing the newly created Office of International Programs, the predecessor to the Executive Office for National Security.
In December 1993, she joined the Criminal Division where she served as Chief of Staff to the Assistant Attorney General,
where she took part in establishing the Division's international training and rule of law programs.
During the Clinton administration
, Townsend served in a series of positions at the Justice Department
, eventually working as intelligence policy counsel for Attorney General Janet Reno
She served as Director of the Office of International Affairs in the Criminal Division from November 1995 until November 1997, when she was appointed Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General.
Townsend was appointed Counsel for Intelligence Policy in March 1998, heading the office of Intelligence Policy and Review, whose various functions included approving intelligence-gathering activities related to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act
Townsend managed the Justice Department's Office of Intelligence Policy and Review until 2001. She was one of Reno's key advisers, acting as a "back channel" between the attorney general and FBI Special Agent John P. O'Neill
, who was also her friend.
The incoming Bush administration did not opt to keep Townsend on. Instead, she served as Assistant Commandant for Intelligence for the United States Coast Guard
. While she was on maternity leave
during the September 11 attacks
in 2001, Townsend assisted the Coast Guard in updating intelligence legislation to switch the branch's priority from drug smuggling to the vulnerability of U.S. ports.
Despite concerns about Townsend's past as a Democratic appointee, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
hired her for the National Security Council
in Spring 2003 at the urging of counterterrorism chief John A. Gordon
and Homeland Security Advisor Richard A. Clarke
In December 2003, she coordinated government terrorism responses that led to the grounding of flights from Europe during the holiday season.
She was appointed Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism on May 28, 2004.
During her tenure, she oversaw an intelligence reorganization and conducted the first post-9/11
review of the White House's anti-terrorism campaign.
Townsend served as the public face of the Bush administration while it was under criticism for allegedly overreacting to dated intelligence
in its decision to raise terrorist threat levels
during an election season.
She also inspected Iraq's Abu Ghraib prison
as an envoy of President Bush. Townsend was tapped to implement broad changes in the intelligence community recommended by a presidential commission headed by former Senator Chuck Robb
and U.S. District Judge Laurence Silberman
Frances Fragos married lawyer John Michael Townsend on October 8, 1994 in an Episcopal
ceremony at Manhattan's Church of the Incarnation
As of 2006, they have two children, both sons. 
With a self-professed "triple type-A
Townsend has been described as having a characteristic bluntness and a "sometimes salty, streetwise style"
that once led her coworkers to nickname her "The Hurricane".
- ^ Will Thomas (May 12, 2008). "Frances Townsend Joins CNN: Latest White House Official To Spin With The Media". The Huffington Post. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
- ^ "Government Veterans to Take Fight to Extremists on Online Battleground". TIME. September 22, 2014.
- ^ a b c "WEDDINGS; Frances Fragos and John Townsend". The New York Times. October 9, 1994.
- ^ Who's who Among American Law Students. University Pub. Bureau. 1984. p. 100.
- ^ a b c d e Knowlton, Brian (November 19, 2007). "Bush's terrorism adviser, Frances Townsend, resigns". The New York Times.
- ^ a b Knufken, Kelly (2006). "Townsend: The Tough Cookie" (PDF). USD Magazine. San Diego, CA: University of San Diego (Summer)): 25.
- ^ a b Waller, Douglas (September 3, 2006). "The Terror Consigliere". Time. Archived from the original on June 13, 2012.
- ^ a b c d e f g "Ms. Frances Fragos Townsend: Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism". whitehouse.gov. Archived from the original on August 28, 2009 – via National Archives.
- ^ Hamblin, Abby (November 28, 2016). "Meet the USD law school grad who might be homeland security secretary". The San Diego Union-Tribune.
- ^ a b c d e Cook, David (September 26, 2006). "Frances Townsend". Christian Science Monitor.
- ^ a b c d Johnston, David (August 6, 2004). "THREATS AND RESPONSES: THE SECURITY ADVISER; A Bush Aide (and a Mother) Emerges as a Major Player in the Antiterror Campaign". The New York Times.
- ^ Ragavan, Chitra (December 6, 2004). "A skillful survivor". U.S. News & World Report. Archived from the original on July 2, 2005.
- ^ a b c d e f g h Glasser, Susan B.; Baker, Peter (August 27, 2005). "An Outsider's Quick Rise To Bush Terror Adviser". Washington Post. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
- ^ "Thinking About Terrorism: Taking Stock Four Years After September 11th". Events. United States Institute of Peace (USIP). September 2005. Archived from the original on June 10, 2009. Retrieved July 26, 2011.
- ^ Bush, George W. (May 9, 2007). "National Security Presidential Directive 51". whitehouse.gov. Retrieved July 26, 2011 – via National Archives.
- ^ "Advisory Board | Protiviti - United States". www.protiviti.com. Retrieved June 22, 2017.
- ^ "Board of Directors". Atlantic Council. Retrieved February 12, 2020.
- ^ CFR Staff (2015). "Council on Foreign Relations (CFR): Membership Roster". CFR.org. Archived from the original on January 16, 2016. Retrieved November 30, 2016.
- ^ "Trump confidant was willing to share information with UAE: Leaked emails show a close working relationship between the Emiratis and Trump's circle while he was still a candidate". Al Jazeerah. June 29, 2018. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
- ^ a b Hearst, David (June 28, 2018). "Revealed: How Trump confidant was ready to share inside information with UAE: Emails will be of interest to Mueller investigation, which is looking at whether the UAE and Saudi funnelled payments to Trump's campaign". Middle East Eye. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
- ^ "Townsend: Trump team approached me for FBI director: This week's Women Rule podcast dives into the experiences of three prominent women in the George W. Bush administration, including his homeland security adviser, who notes her candidacy for Comey's job is 'history making.'". Politico. May 24, 2017. Retrieved July 11, 2018.
Last edited on 3 March 2021, at 16:56
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