Damage Control

NCTC Chief 'Wasn't Skiing'

The White House defended National Counterterrorism Center director Michael Leiter after Thursday's New York Daily News report that charged he didn't cut short his ski vacation after the Christmas Day attempt to bomb a flight over Detroit. National Security Council chief of staff Denis McDonough put out a statement noting that "throughout the events of December 25, 2009," Leiter was at the NCTC HQ in McLean, Virginia and was "intimately involved in all aspects of the nation's response to the attempted terrorist attack--to include coordinating intelligence, examining terrorist watchlisting, and briefing members of Congress." Leiter only went on his six days of annual leave, McDonough said, "after explicit consultations with both the White House and Director of National Intelligence and considering the current threat environment."