June 5th, 2013
07:16 AM ET
9 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. Rudy NYC


    you can't make this stuff up. unbelievable. NO ethics left in this admin.
    The right wing really needs to check itself, and look in the mirror. No one on the right was screaming about where Rice worked until now. Suddenly, it's an issue. Republicans have no say in who serves on Pres. Obama's personal staff. Do you realize just how galling the right sounds right about now? This is no different from them getting all huffed over Pres. Obama choosing a new executive chef.

    June 5, 2013 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  2. Dan

    Dave, we do not need an election in 2016. We need to let our president serve until he gets everything the way it needs to be. Only he can decide when that is. At that point, elections can start again. The media will need to be monitored of course to stave off counter revolutionary dialogue. Everyone will be so happy.

    June 5, 2013 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  3. Rachel

    OMG, can it get any more pathetic. Is thst all they have to pick from. Kiss our Security goodbye.

    June 5, 2013 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  4. Gary

    How dare Obama choose this lying woman! Oh, wait, it's not Condeleeza? Thank God.

    June 5, 2013 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  5. USA

    Just what we need ....another liar to replace another liar. And shes blk....are you suprised?? Im not.

    June 5, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  6. Robert

    Obama is closing the loop of incompetence and haughtiness.

    June 5, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  7. USA

    @ Dan...I bet you didnt day that when Bush was president.

    June 5, 2013 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. ARam78

    Repubs are going nuts over this one. LOL. McCain posing for pics with known kidnappers and terrorists is ok with them but this is outrageous!!! LOL. Obama is setting up the repubs and they are so stupid that they will fall for it!!! By the way the most popular republican right now is Chris Christie, a guy who has praised president Obama, but these idiots will continue to create scandals to try to make president Obama look bad, it is not working, Christie is the only smart republican that realizes it!!! Jindal is still right, the party of stupid..........

    June 5, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  9. Jerry

    This individual is DEFINITELY NOT qualified to be national security advisor; maybe, just maybe national INSECURITY advisor.

    Mr. Obama continues to pay for political favors by surrounding himself with incompetent appointees, thereby sacrificing América's security.

    And, of course, damn our once great nation! Games and more games, lies and more lies is the continuing agenda. That's the motto for Obama administration. The most transparent administration ever. Think NOT!!!

    América, PLEASE wake up and most of all, PLEASE stay tuned...

    June 5, 2013 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  10. Liberal Sense (Or lack thereof)

    Obama protecting his pet OR mistress. Lipstick?

    June 5, 2013 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    Government waste rules wrote on page 7:

    Rice doesn't know the difference between a terrorist attack and a spontaneous protest but sure, make her the National Security Advisor, why not?
    Now what a second. I thought the whole Benghazi Hulllabaloo on the right was that Rice knew it was a terrorist attack but was intentionally misleading when she told the press that it was a spontaneous protest. You can't have it both ways.

    June 5, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. JustAnotherVoter

    I'm sure Russia, China, Syria, and Al Queda are pleased to see these appointments. Remember when Obama leaned over and told Medvedev to let Putin know that his hands were tied before the election, but he'd have more freedom to negotiate with the Russians after his reelection. Connect the dots.

    June 5, 2013 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. Ted

    "The White House".

    June 5, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. OqackamaAgain

    What a dumb move by Obozo, yet again. Maybe he's hoping more controversy will drown out all the scandals. Of all people to put back into a position of authority she is probably the most likely to be scorned and incite opposition. Oh well, onward with the next three years of dead-lock. The tax and spender over-reached at the fiscal cliff and that was about the end of any "successes" he's going to see for the rest of his presidency. Rightly so, obarrycare is enough of a burden for this country to bear.

    June 5, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  15. Lynda/Minnesota

    "The joke's on the right wing."

    Indeed it is, Rudy. In more ways than I suspect even they understand, or would ever admit were they to understand.

    June 5, 2013 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  16. WaleROCK

    Eyes that see her error.
    Hey! She handled the complex job efficiently.

    June 5, 2013 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  17. Rudy NYC

    Reality Check

    Rudy...not sure what AMERICA WON with this GOTCHA...but that is a big part of your problem...you objectiveness has diminished to looking through political glasses...Dont confuse Politics with Patriotism!!!!By Obama doing this, he has just FURTHER alienated himself...this doesnt help America, it just hurts us all..
    You were caught lying about a letter written late last year that dozens of GOP signatures against.

    "what AMERICA WON" – That's far out.

    June 5, 2013 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  18. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    If the Benghazi attack was a planned attack, then WHY didn't the CIA provide advance intelligence of a planned attack? O' my bad, the CIA wasn't in a position to do so because CIA Director and republican David Patreaus was too busy having an affair with two women while our consulate was being attacked. And while Eric Cantor and John boehner were fully aware in advance of Mr. Patreaus' affairs and the fact that he was giving one of these women access to classified information and compromising our national security, Cantor and Boehner remained silent. The only time the two became vocal was during their conspiracy to shift the blame onto the President, Mrs. Clinton and Ms. Rice. Let's face it, Cantor and Boehner should be impeached and removed from office and Patreaus should be imprisoned for treason.

    June 5, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  19. Amy

    LOL just keeps getting better

    June 5, 2013 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  20. chris

    For those Americans still trying to protect this current administration is either on the side of corruption or blinded by party lines. Most guardsman that I work with do not trust this administration. I work in places that most Americans believe is only seen on Tv shows like 24. There is corruption on all sides. As everyday hard working Americans best realize that all of this is real. My question to people are; is this what you want America to be? Full of weak minded and uneducated people? People taking more from those who work hard to provide for there love ones? We Americans that look to history to better understand our future are not poking for a fight but to help prevent the destruction of all our future. I took an oath to our country and to all Americans to protect against all enemies foreign and domestic. I will hold true to my oath.
    336th red tails,
    Operation Iraq freedom war vet.

    June 5, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  21. jsmoulder

    Thanks Susan you did a good job lying for us here is your promotion.

    June 5, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  22. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    If the Benghazi attacks on 9/11 weren't related to the web video as teapublicans claimed, then is it a coincidence that the protest in the Muslim world on 9/11 against the web video also occured on the same day as the attacks in Benghazi?

    June 5, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  23. carlos

    Ms Rice has more intelligence than ALL the imbeciles in the house combined and I mean the ones with fecal matter as brains>>>The repugnants.
    Chaffetz.....you are from Utah, says it all, stench.

    June 5, 2013 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  24. David

    when u insult Jay Carney Obama slaps the republicans with susan rice! Democrats are loving this! Boom!

    June 5, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  25. Bill from GA

    to Rudy NYC

    " Stevens was there to oversee the setting up of a consulate office in the eastern half of the country "

    The purpose of a consulate office is to assist the people of the represented country (USA) in legal matters, lost passports, etc., and to issue visas to locals to visit the represented country (USA).

    Do you really believe there was/is such a need in Benghazi? I don't.

    Stevens last meeting was with representatives from Turkey. Might have something to do with arming Syrian rebels. They didn't tell me:)

    June 5, 2013 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
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