National Security Advisor Thomas E. Donilon will resign his post next month and will be replaced by U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan E. Rice (shown in photo), White House officials announced on June 5. The Washington Post and other news sources reported that Donilon’s resignation will become effective in early July.
A report in the Los Angeles Times noted that Donilon has been a member of President Obama’s national security staff for four years and replaced Gen. James Jones as Obama's national security advisor (officially called the assistant to the president for national security affairs) in 2010.
The Times reported that Donilon helped to formulate the Obama administration's policy for drawdown in Afghanistan and that he advised caution in the U.S. raid conducted to kill Osama bin Laden.
Donilon was a former chief of staff to Secretary of State Warren Christopher, during the Clinton administration. In one of his last official acts, he traveled to Beijing in May to help lay the groundwork for the president’s upcoming summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
An AP report carried by the Boston Globe recalled that Rice, described as “a close Obama confidante,” came under intense criticism from Republicans during investigations into the deadly attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi resulting in the deaths of the United States Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and three others. Relying on incorrect information provided by the intelligence community, Rice said in television interviews that the attacks were likely spontaneous, which was later proven incorrect.
The president had proposed Rice as a possible replacement for retiring Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but her mixed and sometimes inaccurate statements concerning the Benghazi attack made her a lighting rod for criticism. On November 19, 2012, 97 House Republicans sent a letter to President Obama saying that Rice’s statements about Benghazi were "misleading" and that she should therefore not be considered a candidate to succeed Clinton as secretary of state.
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Photo of Susan Rice: AP Images