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Third-ranking State Department official to step down

Tom Shannon
Tom Shannon (right). Photo: Paul Richards / Getty Images

Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs Tom Shannon, a 35-year veteran of the U.S. Foreign Service and the department's most senior holdover from the Obama administration, announced his plans to retire Thursday, reports AP's Matthew Lee.

Why it matters: Though Shannon said he was stepping down for personal and not political reasons, the career diplomat was widely seen as a steadying force for a department in flux.