June 5th, 2013
07:16 AM ET
2 years ago

Obama's national security adviser to resign, Rice to step in

Updated 8:41 a.m. ET Wednesday 6/5

(CNN) – Susan Rice, United States ambassador to the United Nations, will replace Tom Donilon as President Barack Obama's national security adviser, a senior administration official said Wednesday.

The president will announce the personnel change Wednesday afternoon at the White House, an administration official said.

Samantha Power, former special assistant to the president and senior director for multilateral affairs and human rights at the National Security Council, will take Rice's spot as U.S. ambassador, a senior administration official also said.

Rice, a longtime Obama confidante, became the center of controversy in the days after the attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, last year after she maintained the attack was a spontaneous act during a protest rather than the terror attack.

Republican Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah pounced on the staff change Wednesday morning, criticizing Rice for lacking the right judgment for the job.

Rice was considered a top contender to succeed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the start of Obama's second term, but Republican pushback forced her to withdraw from consideration in December.

Obama ultimately nominated former Sen. John Kerry for the post.

As the Chaffetz tweet indicates, Rice could face renewed political opposition from the GOP in her appointment. The Senate, however, does not have to confirm the president's nominee for national security adviser.

Sen. John McCain, one of Rice's most strident critics in the Benghazi aftermath, wrote Wednesday that he's not pleased with her new role but pledged to work with her nonetheless.

Power, on the other hand, will need approval from the Senate for the ambassadorship. Known as a big proponent for intervening in human rights cases, she was one of the loudest voices making the case to get involved in Libya's civil war.

Power also made headlines in March 2008 for resigning from her role as an adviser to Obama's presidential campaign after she called his then-Democratic opponent Hillary Clinton a "monster." Power later apologized to Clinton and the two have put it behind them.

More importantly, both Power and Rice will be dealing with issues like chemical weapons in Syria, unrest across the Middle East and Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program - meaning the attention surrounding their new positions - especially for Power - will be high.

Obama picked Donilon - then deputy national security adviser - to replace retired Marine Gen. Jim Jones for the post in October 2010. Donilon was heavily involved in the raid to kill Osama bin Laden in 2011.

Rice was considered a possible candidate for the job when Jones stepped down, as she was one of Obama's most public foreign policy voices during his 2008 presidential campaign.

Donilon also served as chief of staff to Secretary of State Warren Christopher in the Clinton administration.


Filed under: President Obama • Susan Rice • Tom Donilon • White House
soundoff (296 Responses)
  1. Steve- Illinois

    So the Presidents "National Security advisor" will be the woman that publicly blamed Benghazi on a movie no one had seen.
    It is amateur hour.

    June 5, 2013 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  2. nelbert

    Got any more videos to recommend, Susan?

    June 5, 2013 08:09 am at 8:09 am |
  3. SHills

    Oh no! Still remember Benghazi mess-up. Whew...I think this might be bad news as usual at Fed level.

    June 5, 2013 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  4. Libertarian_First

    Little payoff for being the goat.

    June 5, 2013 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  5. Nick

    I guess this is what happens when you carry Obama's water on Benghazi and mislead the people you are supposed to be serving – you get a promotion.

    June 5, 2013 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  6. cplt20.ca

    Congratulations Susan Rice!! You Deserve it....yippieeeee

    June 5, 2013 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  7. Joe M.

    Talk about a stick in the eye to Republicans.

    June 5, 2013 08:18 am at 8:18 am |
  8. Ron

    Ok, I am lost by this one. After all the things regarding the correlation between Rice and Beghazi, you would think the administration would anyone...ANYONE...but Susan Rice. Well, good luck with that one.

    June 5, 2013 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  9. WTF

    This is a joke right?

    June 5, 2013 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  10. Thinkergal

    Go Susan Rice. Still waiting for the apology from McCain & Co.

    June 5, 2013 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  11. Ron

    You would think the Obama Administration would pick anyone...ANYONE...but Rice. All I can say is good luck, cause I know you will need it.

    June 5, 2013 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  12. Fed Up

    Rice is a liar that is good at cover-ups and deception and deflection. Just the type of person obama needs in his cabinet so he can continue skirting the Constitution and implementing his radical ideology. After all, she did such a great job with Benghazi.

    June 5, 2013 08:20 am at 8:20 am |
  13. c

    Susan Rice? Really? oh wow.

    June 5, 2013 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  14. Normal In NH

    Ha! For a minute I thought it was Condi...but she's obviously far too qualified and capable.

    June 5, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  15. bdby

    What a bad choice for a position. It was proven in the bengazi escapade that she could not think independently and ask the appropirate questions as necessary when presented with the "situation". How in H** is she going to be able to ask the questions when presented with a different situation?

    All President Obama wants is a "YES MAN/WOMAN" in this position to control.

    June 5, 2013 08:25 am at 8:25 am |
  16. Whatup

    Oh wow. Ms. YouTube Video herself to be national security adviser. Oh yea, that'll work.

    June 5, 2013 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  17. smith

    The mouthpiece of misinformation with regards to Benghazi...really...that`s the best he can do...is this a joke?

    June 5, 2013 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  18. Linda

    I think President Obama is asking for problems by appointing Susan Rice as his National Security Advisor. Her credibility suffered a major setback with her statements regarding the Benghazi tragedy.

    June 5, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  19. Sadie Boyd

    She is invested in too many controversial projects. Bad idea! She was wrong for Secretary of State and she is wrong for this position.

    June 5, 2013 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  20. tomfoolery

    Obama rubs salt in the wound of Benghazi by putting Rice in control of national security...he thrives on a lying based set of advisers of which he holds the top rank!

    June 5, 2013 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  21. Anonymous

    This women went on 5 different Sunday talk shows and told the world Benghazi was the result of a video and it was a spontaneous attack. But knew it was a terrorist attack from the start. I guess being a Liar does pay off. LOL

    June 5, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  22. afnmvet

    Fora minute there I thought Condolezza Rice was going to be the NationalSecurity Advisor, then I readthe rest of the article.

    June 5, 2013 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  23. Realityblowz

    Great! Rice comes with no baggage. Oops except for the Benghazi cover up, where every talking head was saying that it was an organized terrorist attack, and she was still blaming a YouTube video. Can this administration make any more bone headed moves? Rhetorical question

    June 5, 2013 08:39 am at 8:39 am |
  24. boyscout

    That is disturbing............

    June 5, 2013 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  25. Jim

    Wow. Talk about salt in the wound. This is just a slap in the face to anyone paying attention. What gall this guy has.

    June 5, 2013 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
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