President Trump has nominated a Pulaski High School graduate to a leading position in the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Michael K. Atkinson, of the Pulaski Academy and Central School’s Class of 1982, has been nominated to be inspector general of the Intelligence Community, Office of the Director of National Intelligence.
Atkinson did his undergraduate work at Syracuse University and received his law degree in 1991 from Cornell University. His mother was a long-time secretary at Pulaski High School and his grandfather was a dairy farmer in town.
Joseph McGrath, former Pulaski counselor and principal, said Atkinson was always a joy to have in school.
“He was a solid student. And he was from a wonderful family,” McGrath said. “He was into many sports, but I remember him the most as a wrestler.” He said Atkinson’s family has been in the Pulaski area for generations and Atkinson Road in the area is named for the Atkinson family.
McGrath knew Atkinson had received his law degree and was working in the Washington, D.C., area. “He went on to be a very successful attorney,” McGrath said. When told of his nomination by Trump as inspector general, McGrath said “fantastic.”
“We’re very proud of him,” he said.
Since 2016, Atkinson served as an acting deputy assistant attorney general and senior counsel to the assistant attorney general of the National Security Division of the Department of Justice. He previously was an assistant United States attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia from 2006 to 2012, then Deputy Chief of the Fraud and Public Corruption Section until 2015 and then the Section’s Acting Chief from 2015 until 2016.
Prior to serving in the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Atkinson was a trial lawyer in the fraud section of the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice from 2002 to 2006. Prior to his public service, Atkinson was a partner at Winston and Strawn LLP in Washington D.C.
If his nomination is approved by the Senate, Atkinson will be responsible for the oversight of the federation’s 16 government agencies’ programs and operations. According to the inspector general’s website, the IG “is responsible for conducting Intelligence Community-wide audits, investigations, inspections, and reviews that identify and address systemic risks, vulnerabilities, and deficiencies that cut across Intelligence Community agency missions.”
The Intelligence Community is a federation of 16 separate United States government agencies that work separately and together to conduct intelligence activities to support the foreign relations and national security of the United States.
The Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 established the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, which began operating in 2005. By statute, the director of National Intelligence is the principal intelligence adviser to the president.
The Office of the Inspector General works in cooperation with the president’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, the Joint Intelligence Community Council and the Office of Management of Budget.