Defense Secretary Robert Gates has told associates that Donilon’s appointment to NSA would be a disaster, according to journalist Bob Woodard's recently published book, “Obama’s Wars.”
Administration officials, speaking over the last month, have said that Donilon’s ascent could lead Gates, a Republican holdover from the Bush administration who has developed a good rapport with Obama, to make an early exit from the Pentagon. Donilon, Woodward reported, was deeply skeptical of the military’s chain of command – and the feeling was mutual, with many commanders viewing Donilon as a politically-connected dilettante who was in over his head.
According to Woodward, Jones clashed with members of Obama’s inner circle – whom he derisively nicknamed ”waterbugs” – and complained about limited access to the president. Emanuel, Woodward wrote, was especially close to Donilon, and would walk past Jones’ office to relay Oval Office requests directly to Donilon, irritating Jones to the point he personally confronted Emanuel.
Jones also seemed skeptical of Donilon last year, advising him to travel to Iraq and Afghanistan – something his deputy hadn’t done before – while telling him to tone down his opinions of military leaders and NSC staffers.