June 5th, 2013
07:16 AM ET
10 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. julia

    Good move.

    June 5, 2013 07:22 am at 7:22 am |
  2. Anonymous

    Susan Rice, national security adviser.? Are you kidding me??

    June 5, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  3. tritonrider

    Lie, cheat, steal, or preferably all three and get promoted in this Administration. Makes Nixon look like Mother Theresa.

    June 5, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  4. Big Ben

    Oh glory, crude-mouth Zionist will now be an NS Advisor. She is an embarrassment to the US.

    June 5, 2013 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  5. miguel

    The rat is deserting the sinking ship and the clueless first mate is taking over

    June 5, 2013 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  6. rs1201

    Rice should have resigned after all the lying she did on Benghazi...but I guess Obama's administration rewards lying to the American People!

    June 5, 2013 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  7. Jojo

    This lady should have been fired for Benghazi. This promotion only proves that she was part of the coverup orchestrated by this president and his people.

    June 5, 2013 07:28 am at 7:28 am |
  8. Johnny DC

    Ahhhh, the much awaited "how to reward Rice for deliberately throwing her under the bus with the Libya scandal and staying as quiet about it as possible".

    Well played, Obama administration. Unfortunately, what was once like watching a complex chessmaster has now dwindled into watching the political equivalent of Jodi Arias try to dance their way out of a scandal.

    Just to reiterate – Either Rice was blatantly lying to protect the president strictly for election purposes, or she was grossly incompetent and proven a fool, for the same purpose.

    Sounds like great qualification for one of the highest national security positions on the planet. A fool or a political hack criminal.

    June 5, 2013 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  9. Patrick

    This will go down as one of the most arrogant administrations in modern history

    June 5, 2013 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  10. Teaparty_man

    Ha! Replacing "dumb" with "dumber"! That'll work!!

    June 5, 2013 07:31 am at 7:31 am |
  11. RayJacksonMS

    And several million republicans just s hit themselves.

    June 5, 2013 07:36 am at 7:36 am |
  12. G_Edwards


    So someone who blindly says what she's told to say is now a senior advisor to Pres Obama. Somehow that seems very fitting with this administration.


    June 5, 2013 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  13. Noah

    replacing an incompetent with an incompetent.

    June 5, 2013 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  14. Tigas

    Excellent! I feel safer already. Look out YouTube movie protestors! You're going to get what is coming to ya!!!

    June 5, 2013 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  15. FubarObama

    Other than being a puppet, what credentials does this woman bring to the table?

    June 5, 2013 07:39 am at 7:39 am |
  16. How Embarassing for Americans

    She bungled a national security issue yet gets rewarded with a post as none other than national security advisor. We are doomed!

    June 5, 2013 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  17. Ej

    Un-freakin believable.

    June 5, 2013 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  18. Kevin B

    Great reporting. No mention that Susan Rice lied to the public? Why is Dolan leaving? Did he order the talking points changed? What are you guys doing at CNN? Your becoming irrelevant if you don't start reporting the news.

    June 5, 2013 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  19. JDATL

    Why does Obama only surround himself with Liars like Susan Rice and Jay Carney?

    June 5, 2013 07:41 am at 7:41 am |
  20. Polymathicguy

    An "in your face" move by Obama ... the downward spiral continues.

    June 5, 2013 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  21. timeforchange

    This is total in-your-face politics by Obama. A total disgrace after benghazi to appoint Rice who lied and took one for the team.

    June 5, 2013 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  22. jgold1701

    There is nothing like being rewarded for lying to the American people. To be honest, as a military man, I could care less what they called that whole fiasco out there, I am just upset that when people in trouble asked fro help from their brothers in arms, they were told that they were on their own. It makes me feel like I am expendable if it is not politically convenient to save my life. And anyone who thinks that there is nothing we could have done is not in a position like I am where I actually see the positions of military forces around the world.

    June 5, 2013 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  23. timeforchange

    Christie should now appoint a republican senator and not have a special election this year.

    June 5, 2013 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  24. acdcguy

    The King is at it again...... with all the latest incompetence in his administration, he's just added another failure, while at the same time, giving the American people the one finger salute.....

    June 5, 2013 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  25. mike Lake Orion Michigan

    What a joke! Only in the Government does incompetence get promoted!

    June 5, 2013 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
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