Swift tabs Swensen to head Office of Commonwealth Security
By John McElhenny, Associated Press, 12/12/01
BOSTON -- Acting Gov. Jane Swift on Wednesday named longtime FBI agent Richard S. Swensen to direct the Office of Commonwealth Security that she created in the wake of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Swensen, an agent for 29 years, has directed FBI offices in Boston, Chicago and New Orleans and has extensive counter-terrorism experience.
Swensen was also one of four FBI four agents to head the assault on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas, in 1993.
As director of the office of commonwealth security, Swensen will coordinate efforts to detect, prepare for, prevent, respond to and recover from all forms of terrorism.
Swift announced she was creating the new cabinet-level position in a televised speech on Oct. 2 that mirrored President Bush's creation of an Office of Homeland Security.
Bush chose Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge as his Director of Homeland Security.
At least 26 other states also have anti-terrorism czars, but many have ill-defined responsibilities and little money.
Swift's announcement in October sparked criticism that the new Director of Commonwealth Security would duplicate the functions of the Secretary of Public Safety, a position now held by former state Sen. James Jajuga.
But Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government issued a report last month that said the position can serve a vital purpose, for example, by developing a public affairs plan with a consistent message to calm the public and build trust in government.