Ms. Monaco has a reputation for working and preparing tirelessly. She is balanced and shows calm, steadfast self-confidence, even under pressure, said friends and former colleagues. She doesn’t raise her voice. Friends called her funny and warm and self-deprecating in the face of praise. When a colleague in the department took note of her remarkable career, She answered“I was very, very lucky.”
As Homeland Security Advisor to Mr. Obama, she led decisions with difficult operational, political, and legal dimensions, often involving military action. A disagreement or provocative question could affect working hours and it could be difficult to get people back on track, former colleagues said.
“She was a lawyer at a table with military leaders. She had to earn her respect and lead her to the conclusion that it was in line with what the president wanted the process to do, ”said Olsen. “She could do this over and over again.”
“Her experience as a trial attorney before the Supreme Court has probably served her well,” said Olsen. “Not everything will go as planned. Your cop will not appear to testify and you must keep a poker face in front of the judges. You manage to accomplish this by staying calm and speaking to the better natures of the people. I saw her do this in the Situation Room at the White House.
In 2013, the Boston Marathon bombing tested their skills and determination. The attack occurred in Ms. Monaco’s hometown when her brother was standing among the crowd cheering on the runners.
Their knowledge of domestic extremism and the way the government works, their work ethic, and their ability to corrupt peers were critical to helping the Obama administration respond, Olsen said.
In 2016, as Ms. Monaco pondered the September 11 bombing of the Boston Marathon and other national security challenges, she warned that “the terrorist threat has evolved and it has done dramatically”.
“It’s wider, more diffuse, and less predictable than it has ever been since 9/11,” she said said at an event organized by the Council on Foreign Relations. “Today, terrorism is increasingly defined by small cells or individual actors, sometimes with little or no direct contact with terrorist organizations. These people have succumbed to violent extremism. “