Obama to nominate new Libya ambassador

President Obama will nominate Deborah K. Jones as the State Department’s new ambassador to Libya, the White House announced on Wednesday.

If confirmed, Jones would replace Chris Stevens, the ambassador killed in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

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The deaths of Stevens and three other Americans ignited a political firestorm at the height of the 2012 presidential election and Jones’s nomination could provide GOP lawmakers the opportunity to again press the administration over the deadly attack.

Jones served as U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait from 2008 to 2011, and has been with the State Department since 1982, holding posts in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Turkey and Syria.

White House spokesman Jay Carney praised Jones as a "career foreign service officer who has served admirably in diplomatic posts across the world."

Despite her extensive Middle East experience, the Benghazi attack is likely to overshadow her nomination.

Republicans have charged that the State Department, under the leadership of then-Secretary of State Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies DNC, RNC step up cyber protections Gun proposal picks up GOP support MORE, ignored the existence of credible threats in the region.

GOP lawmakers also criticized U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice after she initially blamed the attacks on a spontaneous protest of an offensive anti-Islam video.

The administration later acknowledged the attack was terrorism and that no demonstration or protest had taken place in Benghazi. But officials defended Rice, saying that her statements had been based on then-current intelligence.

Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamDurbin: I had 'nothing to do' with Curbelo snub Republicans jockey for position on immigration Overnight Health Care: House passes 20-week abortion ban | GOP gives ground over ObamaCare fix | Price exit sets off speculation over replacement MORE (R-S.C.) said this week that he does not believe the White House has shared all its information in the incident. Graham said he intended to write to Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryFor the sake of national security, Trump must honor the Iran deal Bernie Sanders’s 1960s worldview makes bad foreign policy DiCaprio: History will ‘vilify’ Trump for not fighting climate change MORE and demand access to survivors from the attack.

Graham and Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainRubio asks Army to kick out West Point grad with pro-communist posts The VA's woes cannot be pinned on any singular administration Overnight Defense: Mattis offers support for Iran deal | McCain blocks nominees over Afghanistan strategy | Trump, Tillerson spilt raises new questions about N. Korea policy MORE (R-Ariz.) had initially threatened to block John Brennan’s nomination for CIA director until the administration answered their questions, before relenting and voting for this confirmation. Both, though, have vowed to continue investigating the matter.

Democratic lawmakers have charged Republicans with continuing to press the issue for political gain.

Carney on Wednesday also said that Libyan Prime Minister Ali Zeidan was arriving for his first official visit to the U.S. Zeidan is meeting with Secretary of State John Kerry Wednesday afternoon, and will visit the White House later.

Carney did not say whether Jones would be involved in any of those meetings.

This post was last updated at 1:47 p.m.