In this week's intelligence briefing, an exclusive interview with the government guy who's responsible for "connecting the dots." It's rare to get an interview with Vice Admiral Scott Redd — he's busy for obvious reasons — but it's always worth it.
He is been in government service for 40 years, 37 with the Navy, and on November 10 he will step down from the job he loves for medical reasons. He's got bad knees — really bad knees — and needs double knee replacement surgery. He'll be out for months in rehab, and counterterrorism isn't a job you can do from a hospital bed. You can see the pain in his eyes when you talk to him, but it doesn't get him down. He appears totally focused on the mission and clearly loves it. When Adm. Redd steps down, Michael Leiter, Redd's current principal deputy director, will step in.
This week, FNC had unprecedented access to the admiral. He begins his day when most of us our asleep … before dawn, he begins the first of multiple briefings. As head of the national counterterrorism center, Adm. Redd’s job is to connect the dots, assess the threat and prevent the next attack.
This morning began with Adm. Redd asking senior briefer, 28-year-old Matt Blanchette, “Alright, what kind of day you got?”
Matt responded, "Alright sir, there's a fair amount of information this morning. There are three items in this morning's sit rep. — one in yesterday's sit rep and several items in the threat matrix.”
(In case you're wondering the "sit rep" it’s Intel speak for "situational report," which means what's happening right now some place in the world.)
During my interview, Michael Leiter led a secure video conference call — the kind of thing you'd see in the Bourne Identity. Watch this video — it's rare to see one of these sessions. His desk has motors in it and can keep moving to accommodate bigger groups of people.
When we were there, the call brought together the bulk of the intelligence agencies from the CIA, defense, Homeland Security, as well as the White House. This simple exercise — opening the channels of communication and the National Counterterrorism Center's Ops Center (operations center to you and me) — is part of the post 9/11 culture Redd helped to create.
Catherine Herridge is FNC's Homeland Security correspondent. Click over to read her full bio.
Catherine Herridge is an award-winning Chief Intelligence correspondent for FOX News Channel (FNC) based in Washington, D.C. She covers intelligence, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security. Herridge joined FNC in 1996 as a London-based correspondent.