Dr. Nancy McNally was the National Security Advisor and later Director of the National Security Agency under President Josiah Bartlet from 2000 to 2007. After the election of President Matthew Santos, McNally was named Ambassador to the United Nations.
- Nancy McNally was portrayed by Anna Deavere Smith
Dr. McNally did not appear in the first season of The West Wing, a season which saw several notable international crises (the India invasion of Pakistan, for example), so it is unknown if she joined the Bartlet Administration at its start.
She was in place for the second season premiere (and by extension, the last few episodes of season one), which saw assassins target the presidential motorcade. Dr. McNally advised Vice President John Hoynes and White House Chief of Staff Leo McGarry on the possibility of Iraqi involvement, and recommended the deployment of soldiers into Kuwait and the Persian Gulf. Ultimately, the attack proved to be targeted not at Bartlet, but at his aide Charlie Young, and was the work of white supremacists.
Dr. McNally became one of the President's three key advisors on foreign policy and military matters, the other two being Leo McGarry and Chairman Percy Fitzwallace. She helped deal with situations in Haiti, Qumar, Equatorial Kundu, Iran, and Georgia.
Dr. McNally has vacillated between being hawkish and dovish on the exercise of military force. For example, she supported US arms deals with Qumar as necessary, then, half-jokingly, recommended a nuclear attack in response to the Abdul Sharif affair, before opposing Admiral Fitzwallace's proposed invasion.
McNally bears a strong resemblance to Condoleezza Rice, who was appointed national security adviser shortly after McNally's character was introduced on the show (at the time, Rice was candidate Bush's foreign policy adviser). Career-wise, however, McNally unwittingly bears an even closer resemblance to Susan Rice, a fellow Democrat, UN ambassador and national security adviser.