Officially In: Thomas Shannon to Brasilia

On May 27, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Thomas A. Shannon, to be Ambassador to the Federative Republic of Brazil.


Mr. Shannon has served as the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs since October 2005. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Mr. Shannon entered the Foreign Service in 1984. Mr. Shannon also served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council from 2003 to 2005. From 2002 to 2003, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the Department of State, where he was Director of Andean Affairs from 2001 to 2002. He was U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS) from 2000 to 2001. He served as Director for Inter-American Affairs at the National Security Council from 1999 to 2000; as Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela from 1996 to 1999; and as Regional Labor Attaché at the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg, South Africa from 1992 to 1996. During his career as a Foreign Service Officer, Mr. Shannon also served as Special Assistant to the Ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia, Brazil from 1989 to 1992; as Country Officer for Cameroon, Gabon, and Sao Tome and Principe from 1987 to 1989; and as the Consular/Political Rotational Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City, Guatemala from 1984 to 1986. Mr. Shannon holds a Doctorate and a Master’s degree in Politics from Oxford University, and a B.A. in Government and Philosophy from the College of William and Mary.

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Thomas A. Shannon will succeed Clifford M. Sobel (non-career appointee). Previous ambassadors to Brasilia in the last 20 years have been about 50-50 between career diplomats and non-career appointees (with one non-career nomination withdrawn).

OpenSecrets.org on Thomas A. Shannon: “A career member of the U.S. Foreign Service, which he joined in 1984, he is the current Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Ambassador. He has not given any disclosure-worthy federal campaign contributions, and he has been nominated to be the ambassador to Brazil.”

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President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 5-27-2009