Jake Sullivan

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Jake Sullivan
National Security Advisor to the Vice President of the United States
In office
February 26, 2013 – August 1, 2014
Vice PresidentJoe Biden
Preceded byTony Blinken
Succeeded byColin Kahl
Director of Policy Planning
In office
February 4, 2011 – February 15, 2013
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byAnne-Marie Slaughter
Succeeded byDavid McKean
Personal details
Jacob Jeremiah Sullivan

(1976-11-28) November 28, 1976 (age 43)
Burlington, Vermont, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)Margaret Goodlander (2015–present)
EducationYale University (BA, JD)
Magdalen College, Oxford (MPhil)

Jacob Jeremiah Sullivan (born November 28, 1976) is an American policymaker and was a senior policy advisor to Hillary Clinton's 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign, with expertise in foreign policy.[1] He was spoken of[by whom?] as a front-runner for the position of U.S. National Security Advisor under a potential Hillary Clinton administration, before she lost to Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.[2][failed verification]

At present, Sullivan is the Montgomery Fellow at Dartmouth College and a senior fellow and Master in Public Policy faculty member at the Carsey School of Public Policy.

Sullivan was also a senior advisor to the U.S. government for the Iran nuclear negotiations and a visiting professor at Yale Law School.[3]

Prior to teaching at Yale, Sullivan worked in the Obama Administration as Deputy Assistant to the President and National Security Advisor to U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.[4] He also served as the Director of Policy Planning at the U.S. Department of State, and as Deputy Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Prior to this, he was deputy policy director on Hillary Clinton's 2008 presidential primary campaign, and a member of the debate preparation team for Barack Obama's general election campaign.


Sullivan attended Southwest High School in Minneapolis, Minnesota. He was a debate champion, president of the student council, and voted "most likely to succeed" in his class.[5]

Sullivan attended Yale University, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science in 1998.[citation needed] In 2000, he graduated with an MPhil having received a Rhodes Scholarship to study international relations at the University of Oxford, and became a managing editor of the Oxford International Review.[citation needed] Afterwards, he returned to Yale Law School and graduated with a Juris Doctor degree in law in 2003.[citation needed]

At Yale, he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal and the Yale Daily News. He was a member of the Yale Debate Association, and earned a Truman Scholarship in his junior year.[6][7] He also worked for Brookings Institution President Strobe Talbott at the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization.[8]


After his studies, Sullivan clerked for Second Circuit Court of Appeals judge Guido Calabresi and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States Stephen Breyer.[5][8][9]

After the clerkships, Sullivan practiced at Faegre & Benson for several months,[10] and taught law as an adjunct professor at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis.[5]

After Faegre & Benson, he worked as chief counsel to U.S. Senator from Minnesota Amy Klobuchar,[5][9] who connected him to Clinton.[11]

In 2008, Sullivan was originally an advisor to Hillary Clinton during the primary cycle, and then to Barack Obama during the general election campaign. He prepared Clinton and Obama for debates.[7] When Clinton became U.S. Secretary of State, Sullivan joined as her deputy chief of staff and Director of Policy Planning, and he travelled with her to 112 countries.[12]

He became Vice President Biden's top security aide in February 2013 after Clinton stepped down as U.S. Secretary of State.[13] In those posts, he played a role in shaping U.S. foreign policy towards Libya, Syria, and Myanmar.[9]

On June 20, 2014, The New York Times reported that Sullivan was leaving the administration in August 2014 to teach at Yale Law School.[2] He is currently a nonresident Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.[14]

Iran nuclear negotiations[edit]

In November 2013, the Associated Press reported that officials in the Obama administration had been in secret contact with Iranian officials throughout 2013 about the feasibility of an agreement over the Iranian nuclear program. The report stated that American officials, including U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, Senior White House Iran Advisor Puneet Talwar, and Sullivan, had secretly met with their Iranian counterparts at least five times face-to-face in Oman.[15] Those efforts paved the way for the Geneva interim agreement on the Iranian nuclear program, known officially as the Joint Plan of Action, signed by Iran and the P5+1 countries in Geneva, Switzerland, on November 24, 2013.[9][16]

Since then, Sullivan has regularly attended bilateral consultations with Iran in Geneva as a member of the U.S. delegation on the Iran nuclear negotiations.[3][4]

2016 Clinton presidential campaign[edit]

Sullivan was the chief foreign policy adviser to Hillary Clinton.[17] He was reported to be the only senior staffer who kept on asking if it wasn’t a good idea for her to spend more time in the Midwestern swing states as the election approached.[18] Sullivan was prominent in many of the Podesta emails released by WikiLeaks during the 2016 US presidential election, including Sullivan questioning if Democratic primary candidate Martin O'Malley's 100% clean energy by 2050 plan was "realistic".[19]

Personal life[edit]

Sullivan married Maggie Goodlander, a former senior policy advisor to Senators Joe Lieberman and John McCain and law clerk to Chief Judge Merrick Garland and Justice Stephen Breyer,[20][21][22] in June 2015.[23]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nather, David (April 14, 2015). "Clinton names top 3 wonks for campaign". Politico. Retrieved 2016-11-06.
  2. ^ a b Landler, Mark (June 20, 2014). "Biden Adviser Leaving Washington, But It May Not Be for Long". The New York Times. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
  3. ^ a b "U.S. Delegation Travel to Geneva for Talks With Iran on Its Nuclear Program" (Press release). U.S. Department of State, Office of the Spokesperson. September 3, 2014. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
  4. ^ a b "U.S. Delegation Travel to Geneva for Talks With Iran on Its Nuclear Program" (Press release). U.S. Department of State, Office of the Spokesperson. August 6, 2014. Retrieved September 6, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d Henry, David (November 27, 2013). "Jake Sullivan: Minneapolis Native Among Those to Hatch Iranian Nuclear Deal". MinnPost. Retrieved December 24, 2013.
  6. ^ "Scholastic Prizes". Yale Bulletin & Calendar. 26 (33). Yale Office of Public Affairs & Communications (Yale University). 1998. Archived from the original on May 20, 2015. Retrieved May 19, 2015.
  7. ^ a b "Jake Sullivan". The Washington Post. July 23, 2012. Archived from the original on December 1, 2012. Retrieved December 24, 2013.
  8. ^ a b Rogin, Josh (January 25, 2011). "Jake Sullivan to Become State Department Director of Policy Planning". Foreign Policy. Retrieved December 24, 2013.
  9. ^ a b c d Pace, Julie (December 24, 2013). "Vanishing Adviser Reappears as Iran Policy Player". Yahoo! News. Associated Press. Retrieved December 24, 2013.
  10. ^ https://foreignpolicy.com/2011/01/25/jake-sullivan-to-become-state-department-director-of-policy-planning/#sthash.GN6Dp8w5.dpbs
  11. ^ https://www.minnpost.com/politics-policy/2016/02/we-just-go-jake-how-southwest-high-grad-became-hillary-clinton-s-go-guy
  12. ^ MARK LANDLER (June 20, 2014). "Biden Adviser Leaving Washington, but It May Not Be for Long". The New York Times. Retrieved December 11, 2016. he was one of Hillary Rodham Clinton’s closest advisers, at her side in all 112 countries she visited as secretary of state.
  13. ^ "Vice President Biden Announces Jake Sullivan as New National Security Advisor" (Press release). The White House, Office of the Vice President. February 26, 2013. Retrieved December 24, 2013.
  14. ^ "Jake Sullivan". Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Retrieved January 6, 2020.
  15. ^ "Report Claims Secret US–Iran Talks Laid Groundwork for Nuclear Deal". Fox News Channel. Associated Press. November 24, 2013. Retrieved November 25, 2013.
  16. ^ "A Timeline of Key Events in US–Iran Negotiations". Yahoo! News. Associated Press. November 25, 2004. Retrieved December 24, 2013.
  17. ^ https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-trailguide-06022016-not-your-typical-foreign-poli-1464884098-htmlstory.html
  18. ^ GLENN THRUSH. "10 Crucial Decisions That Reshaped America". Retrieved December 11, 2016. He was also the only one of the dozen aides who dialed in for Clinton’s daily scheduling call who kept on asking if it wasn’t a good idea for her to spend more time in the Midwestern swing states in the closing days of the campaign.
  19. ^ Cooper, Ryan. "This hacked Clinton campaign email shows why 'serious' people just don't get climate change". The Week. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  20. ^ "Maggie Goodlander".
  21. ^ "Commencement Speakers: Maggie Goodlander and Jake Sullivan". Brewster Academy. Archived from the original on June 26, 2015. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  22. ^ "Margaret Goodlander". Center for a New American Century. Retrieved February 14, 2016.
  23. ^ "JAKE SULLIVAN". The Ruth Pauley Series. Retrieved February 14, 2016. He was married to Maggie Goodlander in June 2015.

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