WASHINGTON – J. Cofer Black (search), the State Department official in charge of counterterrorism, is leaving government in the next few weeks.
Black's departure will end a 30-year government career that was spent mostly in the CIA's operations office.
Black had told State Department officials before this week's presidential election that he planned to resign whatever the outcome, spokesman Adam Ereli said Friday.
He is the first senior department official to depart as President Bush weighs his personnel lineup across the government as he prepares for a second term.
Black's boss, Secretary of State Colin Powell, has not revealed whether he wants to remain. Powell has responded consistently to reporters' questions by saying his continuation in the Cabinet was up to the president.
Bush, meanwhile, has not notified Cabinet officers whether he wanted them to stay.
Black, a native of Stamford, Conn., was a special assistant for counterterror at the CIA and deputy chief of the agency's Latin America division before joining the State Department in December 2002.
At State he has been coordinator for counterterror, responsible for dealing with international terrorism and improving cooperation with other governments.
"He is leaving the department to explore new opportunities," Ereli said. "He is grateful for the honor to serve President Bush and Secretary of State Powell for two very satisfying and productive years."
Black held the rank ambassador at large. He did not discuss his plans publicly.