By Adam Aigner-Treworgy
Nearly three weeks after nominating chief White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan as the next director of the Central Intelligence Agency, President Barack Obama on Friday announced a replacement.
Lisa Monaco will serve as the new assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism and deputy national security adviser - a long title for a job that up to this point has been filled by the president's closest adviser in the fight against foreign and domestic terrorism.
Monaco comes from the Justice Department, where she has served as assistant attorney general for national security since July 2011. Prior to that assignment, Monaco served as deputy attorney general, chief of staff to FBI Director Robert Mueller, special counsel at the FBI, and during an earlier stint at the Justice Department adviser to Attorney General Janet Reno on national security issues.
A graduate of Harvard University and University of Chicago Law School - where Obama was a professor before entering politics - Monaco spent many years as a prosecutor.
She served as co-lead counsel of the Enron Task Force alongside current White House Counsel Kathryn Ruemmler. The task force successfully prosecuted former executives of Enron Broadband Services, for which Monaco was awarded the Attorney General's Award for Exceptional Service, the Justice Department's highest award.
With Ruemmler, Monaco is likely to have at least one friend inside the president's inner circle.
But filling Brennan's shoes is going to be difficult. Since Obama's inauguration in 2009, Brennan has briefed the president on security issues nearly every day.
Brennan has been by the president's side for many of the moments that shaped his first term. Brennan was the first person to brief the president on the morning of July 20, 2012, when a shooter opened fire in a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. He was with the president when he decided to launch the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in Abbottabad, Pakistan. He has also been the principal driver of the Obama administration's amped up use of drones to target terrorists.
Whether the specifics of the job will change once Monaco takes over is yet to be determined, an administration official told CNN. But given her experience with security issues at Justice, the FBI and as a prosecutor, Monaco is sure to play a major role as the newest member of the president's national security team.