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Forum staff reports, Published August 03 2011

Senate confirms Fargo born man as nation's next counterterrorism chief

FARGO – A Fargo born man has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate as the nation’s next counterterrorism chief.

Matthew G. Olsen, a former prosecutor with extensive experience in intelligence for the federal government, is the son of Van Olsen, a North Dakota native who once lived in Fargo and served as chief of staff to Rep. Mark Andrews, R-N.D., in the 1960s.

Matthew Olsen was born in 1962 in Fargo and was 3 years old when the family moved to Washington, D.C.

President Obama nominated Olsen for the post July 1.

Today, Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., released a statement after the Senate con-firmed Olsen to be the Director of the National Counterterrorism Center.

“I am pleased that the Senate has moved quickly and confirmed North Dakota native Matthew Olsen as the new chief of the National Counterterrorism Center,” Conrad, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in the release.

“Matt is a true leader with the experience and knowledge to lead the National Counterterrorism Center. He will work tirelessly to protect the American people against terrorist attacks.”

Olsen, 49, will direct the National Counterterrorism Center, an agency born in the aftermath of the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks on America. That agency is charged with analyzing and integrating information gathered across the intelligence community and then providing assessments to the president and other senior policy-makers.

“Matt will be a critical part of my national security team as we work to tirelessly thwart attacks against our nation and do everything in our power to protect the American people,” Obama said a statement last month.

Olsen’s mother, Myrna, told The Forum last month that the family has maintained its North Dakota ties and visits family in Williston every couple of years.

Olsen's father, Van, died in 2008.