The White House is hiring Robert Malley, whose past writings on the Middle East have stirred controversy, as a senior member of the National Security Council.
NSC officials confirmed Malley’s appointment on Tuesday to The New York Times. His area will be the Middle East.
Malley disassociated himself from the Obama campaign in 2008 because of controversy over his meetings with Hamas officials and over his writings, which assigned some blame to Israelis for the failure of peace talks.
Malley, who had been working as the International Crisis Group’s program director for the Middle East and North Africa, was an adviser to President Bill Clinton at the failed Camp David peace talks in 2000.
The Times quoted Obama administration officials as saying that they did not anticipate controversy.
“I can’t think of anybody outside government who has a stronger set of relationships with the Israelis, as well as with people throughout the region,” Tony Blinken, a deputy national security adviser, told the newspaper.JTA