By Julian Pecquet - 09/13/13 01:15 AM EDT
Victoria Nuland, the top spokeswoman for the State Department under former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's, was confirmed by voice vote and without debate to be the new assistant secretary of State for Europe and Eurasia. Her nomination was briefly in peril after it was revealed that she urged removing references to past threats to the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, in order to shield the State Department from criticism.
Powerful Republicans, including Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), however, rushed to her defense, and she easily cleared the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. They said Nuland was an accomplished diplomat who has served as principal deputy foreign policy adviser to then-Vice President Cheney and U.S. ambassador to NATO under former President George W. Bush.