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 ClintonTrump takes aim at media after 'hereby' ordering US businesses out of China Trump knocks news of CNN hiring ex-FBI official McCabe Taylor Swift says Trump is 'gaslighting the American public' 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 GrahamWhite House won't move forward with billions in foreign aid cuts GOP group calls on Republican senators to stand up to McConnell on election security in new ads Cindy McCain says no one in Republican Party carries 'voice of reason' after husband's death 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 KerryKentucky basketball coach praises Obama after golf round: 'He is a really serious golfer' The enemy of my enemy is my friend — an alliance that may save the Middle East Democratic governors fizzle in presidential race MORE and demand access to survivors from the attack.

Graham and Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainCindy McCain says no one in Republican Party carries 'voice of reason' after husband's death Anti-gun violence organization endorses Kelly's Senate bid McCain's family, McCain Institute to promote #ActsOfCivility in marking first anniversary of senator's death 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.