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Obama’s top security adviser steps down

- The Washington Times - Friday, October 8, 2010

In yet another pre-election departure for the White House, President Obama announced Friday that his national security adviser, Gen. James Jones, is stepping down and will be replaced by deputy Tom Donilon.

Mr. Obama praised Gen. Jones' service in a press briefing in the Rose Garden, saying the former Marine has been a "steady voice" on security policy and has helped his administration reset its foreign policy abroad.

"We have spared no effort to keep the American people safe while also repairing old alliances, building new partnerships and restoring America's leadership in the 21st century," Mr. Obama said, flanked by both Gen. Jones and his successor.

Gen. Jones' departure is the latest in a string of high-profile personnel shake-ups only weeks before the midterm elections.

Mr. Obama bid farewell last week to chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, who left to run for mayor of Chicago, and in the months before saw budget director Peter Orszag and chief economist Christina Romer leave the administration. Economic adviser Lawrence Summers is also resigning at the end of year.

The president said Gen. Jones had told him when he took that job that he would like to serve for about two years.

"The American people owe Jim an unbelievable debt of gratitude" for a lifetime of service, Mr. Obama said.

A 40-year military veteran, Gen. Jones maintained a lower profile than Mr. Obama's other advisers. His resignation comes soon after the release of Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward's book on Mr. Obama's war policies, which seemed to show a disconnect between Gen. Jones and Mr. Obama and other advisers over the course of the Afghanistan war.

According to the book, Gen. Jones reportedly described Mr. Obamas political advisers as the "mafia" and the "politburo."

Mr. Donilon, whose political career dates back to the Carter administration, was an adviser to former President Bill Clinton, eventually serving as the assistant secretary of state for public affairs. Mr. Woodward's book portrays Mr. Donilon as having a central role in the formulation of Mr. Obama's decision to increase the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan while announcing plans to start withdrawing them in mid-2011.

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