Three days after Americans saw the Bush administration's counterterrorism chief say the Iraq war has likely not made the United States safer from terrorism, the official announced his resignation, citing health reasons.
In an e-mail sent to his staff Wednesday afternoon, Adm. Scott Redd, head of the National Counterterrorism Center (NCTC), said he was stepping down to "take care of some long-delayed surgery that I can no longer neglect."
The center serves as an all-source intelligence operation, synthesizing information from the CIA, the Pentagon, the FBI and elsewhere and analyzing the threat of terrorism to the United States.
A spokesman said that Redd, 63, needed to have both of his knees replaced, which would require a long period of rehabilitation during which he could not work.
On Monday, NBC News broadcast an interview with Redd in which he said that the U.S. was "probably" not safer from terrorism today than it was before the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In the longer term, he said, "We'll wait and see."
Redd's comment apparently contradicted an assertion made by President Bush's top counterterrorism adviser, Fran Townsend, that the terrorist threat "would have been worse" if the United States had not invaded Iraq.
NCTC spokesman Carl Kropf said Redd's decision to leave was "absolutely not" related to his comments, and that he had not been pressured in any way to step down.
No replacement has been named. When Redd leaves on Nov. 10, he will be temporarily replaced by his deputy until a new director is confirmed, Kropf said.
In a statement released this afternoon, Director of National Intelligence Mike McConnell thanked Redd for his service. "I know his decision to step down was difficult," McConnell said. A spokesman for his office said there was "no pressure whatsoever" on Redd to resign.
This post has been updated.