JONES FOR NSA?…. There haven’t been too many rumors about who’s likely to serve as the National Security Advisor in the Obama White House, so it was interesting to see Gen. James Jones’ name come up today.
President-elect Barack Obama is close to landing James L. Jones, the well-known retired Marine Corps general, as his national security adviser, sources said.
Jones is a former Marine Corps commandant and was head of U.S. and NATO forces in Europe, with the title of Supreme Allied Commander, Europe.
The national security adviser heads the National Security Council, the part of the White House structure that deals with foreign policy. It varies in influence from presidency to presidency. Befitting his past, Jones would be given a commanding role, the sources said.
Jones also was considered for secretary of state and secretary of energy. He currently is president and chief executive officer of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for 21st Century Energy. From his official biography: “At the request of the U.S. Congress, Jones recently chaired the Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq.”
The rumor is pretty widespread today — similar reports about Jones as the NSA have appeared on CNN and ABC. (I’d add, by the way, that MSNBC reported in June that Obama’s vice presidential vetting team came up with 20 possible names, and Jones, a close friend of John McCain, made the list as a possible running mate.)
So, assuming the reports are accurate, is Jones the right person for the job? By all indications, yes. Spencer Ackerman notes that Jones would be “a good choice,” who would be reflective of two huge Obama priorities. First, Afghanistan. As NATO Commander, Jones ceaselessly lobbied the European allies for greater assistance in the Afghanistan war. Second, energy security. Jones is widely known to be an advocate of alternative energy sources, and, as Politico notes, chairs an energy task force for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. And of course there’s the good optics of such a well-respected general being Obama’s closest White House aide on foreign policy.”
Joe Klein added that Jones “refused a series of major positions offered by the Bush Administration, presumably because he opposed the policies he would have been expected to implement. He did agree to study the security situations in Iraq and Afghanistan for the Bush Administration, and came back with reports that were embarrassingly candid. If appointed, he — not David Petraeus — will be the most important (former) general in the Obama Administration, which will help tilt power back toward the President.”
What’s more, Adam Serwer reminds us that Jones is an opponent of torture.