Obama set to name Clinton as secretary of state

 

US president-elect Barack Obama is poised to name his national security team tomorrow, with former political rival Hillary Clinton in line to be picked as secretary of state.

As part of a deal with Mr Obama to clear the way for his wife to get the post, former President Bill Clinton agreed to make public the names of more than 200,000 donors to his foundation, the New York Times reported today.

A person close to Ms Clinton, the New York senator who waged a sometimes heated battle with Obama for the Democratic presidential nomination, said that "she will be in Chicago tomorrow to be named secretary of state."

Others expected to be picked for key posts include current Defense Secretary Robert Gates, a Republican who would stay in in the new Democratic administration; retired Marine Corps general James Jones as White House national security adviser, and Susan Rice, an Obama foreign policy adviser, as UN ambassador.

The Obama national security team will face the tasks of extricating US forces from Iraq, tackling a resurgent Taliban in Afghanistan, and rebuilding the US image abroad after eight years with president George W. Bush in office.

The appointments come amid other global security challenges such as the attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai that killed nearly 200 people and threatened to undermine India's improving ties with fellow nuclear-armed neighbor Pakistan.

Mr Obama's office said in a statement today that Mr Obama would announce members of his national security team at a news conference at 10:40 a.m. EST (1540 GMT) tomorrow. Vice president-elect Joe Biden will also attend the session where other officials in the next administration might also be named.

US media also reported Obama will name former Justice Department official Eric Holder as attorney general and Arizona govenor Janet Napolitano as homeland security chief.

Indiana senator Richard Lugar, the senior Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, praised Hillary Clinton's pending nomination, but made clear that her husband's activities might come under scrutiny.

"I would vote in favor of Senator Clinton, knowing what we have here," about her husband's disclosures on his foundation, Lugar told ABC's "This Week."

"I suspect, however, that I'm not alone in suggesting that there will be questions raised, and probably legitimate questions," Lugar added.

The New York Times, citing Democratic sources, reported that Bill Clinton had decided to make public his contributor list to avoid an appearance of conflict of interest with his wife's duties as the top US diplomat.

Mr Clinton turned over names of all 208,000 individuals and organizations that have given money since 1997, the Times said, and his foundation will release them publicly by year's end.

Future donors also will be disclosed as long as Hillary Clinton serves in Obama's cabinet, the newspaper reported.

The former president has also agreed to submit his speeches and business dealings in advance to State Department ethics officials for their review, as well as to the White House counsel's office if need be, the Times reported.

A member of Obama's transition team confirmed the conditions of the agreement as reported by the Times.

"I think this arrangement sets up a framework of transparency and disclosure. And I think that's a significant and important aspect of the confirmation process," Democratic senator Jack Reed of Rhode Island, another member of the Foreign Relations panel, said on the ABC program.

Reuters