During the critical planning moments of the strike on Osama bin Laden the president was surrounded by a posse of Irish American advisers who helped him make the key decisions.

The Washington Post reported that; “ It wasn’t until 8 a.m. Friday that Obama, in a meeting with national security adviser Thomas E. Donilon, his deputy Denis McDonough, chief of staff William Daley, and White House counterterrorism adviser John O. Brennan, told the group to move ahead.

 Thomas Donilon is National Security Advisor, John Brennan is Counterterrorism czar, Chief of Staff is Bill Daley and Deputy National Security advisor is Denis McDonough.

Brennan, whose parents were born in Roscommon and Galway chaired all the critical meetings.

It has been known for some time that he is Obama’s most influential aide on terrorism issues.

Brennan’s parents are still living in New Jersey, no doubt basking in the glow of their successful son.

Describing the moment  in the situation room waiting for the mission to succeed or fail Brennan stated “The minutes passed like days. It was very tense, with a lot of people holding their breath.”

McDonough, one of a family  of 11 who has a  brother a priest, was Obama’s point man on foreign policy during the election campaign where his responsibilities included Northern Ireland.

Bill Daley is brother of the former Chicago mayor Richard Daley.



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He has  headed many mission to Ireland for president Clinton and became involved in the Irish peace process when he was Commerce Secretary.

Thomas Donilon is a  brother of Mike Donilon the counselor for Vice President Joe Biden, another key Irish American figure in the Obama inner circle.

Donilon  works closely with yet another Irish staffer , the Irish-born Samantha Power who is considered the key architect of the  Libya policy.

A photograph taken in the Situation Room as the raid unfolded shows Biden, Clinton, Chairman of the joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen sitting closest to the president.

It is hard to imagine, with the exception of the Kennedy era,more Irish Americans in senior positions in a White House administration especially  when you include Vice President Biden, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who, while not Irish American, has long played a key role on Irish issues.