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. Balanced99

    Obama has needed to pay back Rice for lying about Libya – taking Clinton's post was never going to pass. The Regime lives on.

    June 5, 2013 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  2. 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 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  3. John Jingle

    More proof that this administration is by far, the worst to ever sit in DC. Obama, the Worst President in the short history of the United States, No other has lied, cheated, murdered and covered up more then this empty clown suited dolt. Rice should have been fired and then thrown in jail for her lies to America. She purposely lied to protect the Worst President in History. She is clearly NOT QUALIFIED to even run a child's lemonade stand.

    June 5, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  4. Bob

    If I were Obama I would have done anything to get her out of the spotlight, quickly.

    June 5, 2013 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  5. Bob

    In the aftermath of supporting the debacle that was the Bush foreign policy (hyped or misused or completely bungled intel–ie Cheney "weapons of mass destruction" > 2 stupid costly and non-consequential wars, nearly blowing up NATO, etc–while ignoring or understating its incompetence, the GOP has one polocy: hyper-criticize Obama.

    The IRS and the near harassment of journalists are instances that deserve oversight and criticism

    Benghazi was poorly managed.

    But if misuse of intel..with consequent loss of life is important (and it is), then the several hundred thousand in total life loss in Afghanistan and Iraq dwarfs the 4 lost lives in Benghazi.

    The difference is that Bush/Cheney deliberately prosecuted a disaster, and the Obama administration handled Benghazi at the worst with negligence.

    The GOP is again living in their same echo chamber where they'll all knew the non-Fox pis were wrong and that Romney would win–rather than lose–by 5 Million votes.

    The current overreach–at odds with the same polling approvals that cost them the Senate and the presidency–will cost them again.

    Both parties should remember that good governance is the best politics.

    June 5, 2013 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  6. Jason B

    Susan Rice? Are you kidding me? Replacing one liar with another, especially one caught in FIVE lies on one Sunday morning.

    June 5, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  7. bezboz

    Where does he find these staffers with such poor judgement?

    June 5, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  8. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA -aka- Take Back The House -aka- No Redemption Votes

    Jason Chaffetz ✔ @jasoninthehouse

    Judgement is key to national security matters. That alone should disqualify Susan Rice from her appointment. #benghazi #BadChoice
    Blah Blah Blah. When has she made bad judgement? She was given talking points from the intelligence committees and she went along with them. End of story.

    June 5, 2013 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  9. Matt

    To maintain a web of lies, it's necessary to keep the involved parties as close as possible.

    June 5, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  10. Dave Richman

    Given Rice's demonstrated lack of integrity, this appointment offers no new hope of improved foreign policy.

    June 5, 2013 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  11. memo2

    Obama never ends to amazes me, breaking all president's records on bad decisions.

    June 5, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  12. Bill

    Bet those loser GOP clowns wish they had not blocked her as secretary of state. Now she will be a heartbeat from all national security decisions and does not have to be confirmed. Smooth move, Exlax. Moral of story, an obstructionist playbook will never win you the game. But I guess the GOP has nothing else.

    June 5, 2013 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  13. Alpha


    And several million republicans just s hit themselves.


    I think it's more than that.

    June 5, 2013 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  14. Richard Right

    She's a friend ,and in politics and business that is a good enough reason. But is it also a message to IRS people, don't cooperate, don't tell the truth to Congress, and we'll take care of you?

    June 5, 2013 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  15. Al

    Now that good, was it not Rice that lied for Obama and Hillary during the murder of the Americans in Benghazi. I guess people that lie in the Obama administration get promotions and don't get fired. I guess there will be more promotions coming thanks to the IRS cover up.

    June 5, 2013 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  16. DavM

    Reinforcing the failed Obama administration with more fools. Impeach Obama now

    June 5, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  17. yippeeskip

    This administration gets goofier by the minute...with apologies to Goofy.

    June 5, 2013 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  18. rs

    Wow, the clueless posts today. A good warning about the effectiveness of the GOP's spin on Benghazi on FOX and Rush- at least those posting here apparently bought it all, hook, line, and sinker.
    The sad part is that these posts and the Right wing line on them are COMPLETELY factless. It is hard to imagine how our nation with thrive ever again if one party (the GOP/TP) insist on having their own version of reality- or at best lie like mad hoping to keep their dwindling base interested.

    June 5, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  19. Nate

    Why does CNN always put these weird comment sections on articles about Obama?

    June 5, 2013 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  20. Joey

    Patrick, this administration will also go down as the administration that revived the economy after the Bush administration buried it

    June 5, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  21. Donna

    Obviously Obama could care less about our national security if he has appointed this incompetent liar to the post. Honestly, if this doesn't clue the American people into what Obama is all about, nothing will.

    June 5, 2013 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  22. Deathstalker74

    Accordint to Pete, "Susan Rice isn't guilty of anything that hasn't been done before". This comment alone shows how low your expectations of this President are. And stop projecting your own view of how conservatives think of other races onto us. The race card has been maxed out and no one is buying it anymore. You entire bumbling diatribe boils down to "it's Bush's fault". That got old four years ago.

    June 5, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  23. Borderless

    The Obama promotion method is simple and straight forward. If you want to rise up in his administration you need to first demonstrate that you are willing to take a fall in order to continue hiding Obama's incompetence/corruption. Obama: worst, most corrupt president ever.

    June 5, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  24. sneha

    We have corrupted WH with lead of our President.
    Rice promoted regardless false statements after Benghazi and she is a part of coverup.
    President support general Attorney despite his false statements under oath .
    IRS leader who blamed for targeting conservative has now well paid administrative leave.

    Are we still in America or we have third world country corrupted government??

    June 5, 2013 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  25. Charlie

    If this wasn't so sad I would be laughing so hard right now. Obama is a joke.

    June 5, 2013 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
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