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Tag Archives: Susan Rice

Obama Taps Susan Rice to be National Security Adviser

President Obama has chosen controversial United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice to serve as his National Security Adviser, replacing Tom Donillon, who is resigning.

Obama will announce the appointment in the Rose Garden at 2:15 this afternoon. Donilon is expected to depart early next month.

Susan RiceWhite House adviser Samantha Power, who serves on the National Security Council, will be named to replace Rice as U.N. ambassador.

Rice’s new post is within the White House and does not require Senate confirmation. Rice was passed over by Obama for Secretary of State earlier this year amid harsh criticism from Republicans for appearing on talk shows after the Benghazi attacks touting the idea that a video was responsible. It had become clear she could not be confirmed.

Rice served on the staff of the National Security Council during the Clinton administration. While at the NSC , she was director for international organizations and peacekeeping from 1993 to 1995 and special assistant to the president and senior director for African affairs from 1995 to 1997. In 1997, President Clinton appointed her Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, a post she held for the rest of Clinton’s term.

Rice has been criticized for playing a role in the failure of the Clinton administration to prevent the 1994 Rwanda genocide, reportedly saying at the time, “If we use the word ‘genocide’ and are seen as doing nothing, what will be the effect on the November (midterm) election?”

Rice has served as U.N. ambassador since the start of Obama’s presidency in 2009.

Power has made quite a comeback since she was forced off the Obama 2008 campaign for calling Hillary Clinton a “monster.” Power backs the goals of the “Responsibility to Protect” movement, or “RtoP,” which advocates international military intervention to protect those suffering egregious human rights abuses.

In 2002, she said the United States should forcibly intervene in the battle between the Palestinians and the Israelis because Ariel Sharon and Yasser Arafat were being “dreadfully irresponsible.” She has suggested she regrets the administration’s failure and would come down on the side of action the next time she was faced with such a crisis.

Currently more than 80,000 people have been killed in Syria, but the White House has not acted against the Assad government. Whether that will change with Rice as National Security Adviser is an open question.

Kerry: I Was Offered Job a Week Before Rice Withdrew

Incoming Secretary of State John Kerry says he was offered the job by President Obama a week before UN Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name from contention, an indication Rice was probably dumped from consideration and then permitted to make it seem like it was her choice to withdraw.

Big headed?
Big headed?

Kerry revealed the timing of events during an interview with the Boston Globe.

Obama offered Kerry the job as controversy raged over Rice’s false insistence that the attack on the Benghazi consulate was in response to an anti-Islamic film, even as evidence was available that it was a well-planned act of terrorism. Republicans were calling for her head even before Obama had offered her the job.

While it’s quite possible he would have chosen Kerry anyway, it’s hard to imagine that the storm around Rice did not affect Obama’s thinking.

So why did Kerry reveal that he was tapped before Rice stood down, something so obviously injurious to Rice? I can only imagine that he was sick of being perceived as Obama’s second choice, the poor man’s Secretary of State.

I’ve always noticed that Kerry physically has the biggest head I’ve ever seen in my life. But it’s not very gracious to start his new job acting big-headed as well.

Rice Withdraws from Consideration for State; Blames GOP

In scathing attack on Republicans, UN Ambassador Susan Rice today withdrew from consideration to be Secretary of State, informing President Obama of her decision in a letter laced with criticism of those who raised questions about her actions with respect to Benghazi and her tenure working for President Clinton.

Rice accused Republicans of launching a political attack against her, though she left unclear what would motivate such an attack. Obama’s allies have implied Republicans are questioning her out of misogyny and racism.

Rice adorned her comments to Obama with sanctimonious contentions that she was withdrawing to spare the country and the president the distraction of the political show trial she thinks her confirmation process would become. However, it would be unusual for someone to withdraw from consideration for such a post unless they got a request or an unmistakable hint from the White House.

Ironically, many Republicans were concerned that it was Rice herself who was politicizing foreign policy by jumping at the chance to appear on five Sunday talk shows to tout already suspect evidence that the September 11 Benghazi consulate attack resulted from an anti-Islamic video. The actual explanation – that the assault was a coordinated terrorist operation conducted by al Qaeda affiliates – undermined Obama’s campaign argument that he had largely vanquished al Qaeda.

Here is an excerpt from her letter to the president:

If nominated, I am now convinced that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly – to you and to our most pressing national and international priorities. That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country. It is far more important that we devote precious legislative hours and energy to enacting your core goals, including comprehensive immigration reform, balanced deficit reduction, job creation, and maintaining a robust national defense and effective U.S. global leadership. Therefore, I respectfully request that you no longer consider my candidacy at this time.

The position of Secretary of State should never be politicized. As someone who grew up in the era of comparative bipartisanship and as a sitting U.S. national security official who has served in two U.S. administrations, I am saddened that we have reached this point. We cannot afford such an irresponsible distraction from the most pressing issues facing the American people.

And here’s Rice appearing on the Obama-friendly NBC News, to which she gave the news that she was giving up.

Sen. John Kerry, who is now considered the leading candidate for the job, was spotted this evening in his Senate office doing back handsprings, a remarkable feat for a 69 year old.

Okay, actually he released a statement calling Rice “an extraordinarily capable and dedicated public servant” and blah blah blah blah.

Rice will stay on as UN Ambassador.

Rice Allegedly Helped Thwart Effort that May have Prevented 1998 Africa Embassy Bombings

Writing in 2003, a former U.S. diplomat accused current UN Ambassador Susan Rice of helping thwart intelligence gathering that might have uncovered and prevented the 1998 Al Qaeda bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

The attacks killed hundreds of people, including 12 Americans, and helped al Qaeda gain confidence in its ability to target the United States.

Rice is said to be on the short list to be named Secretary of State by President Obama

Meanwhile, also in 2003, a veteran investigative journalist suggested Rice also opposed an offer by Sudan in the mid-1990s to hand over Osama Bin Laden, who was staying in the country at the time. Whether there was ever a credible offer to give Bin Laden to the United States is in dispute, however. Former Clinton administration officials have said there would at the time have been insufficient grounds to hold Bin laden.

Rice, according to the allegations, opposed dealing with Sudan because of concerns about Sudan’s persecution of Christians and its own involvement in supporting terrorism – concerns those who allege Rice dropped the ball say should have been set aside in the interest of gaining invaluable intelligence and possibly getting Bin Laden.

Rice at the time of the embassy attacks and in the years leading up to them was a senior adviser to President Clinton on African issues and then Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs under Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

According to a 2003 piece in the Washington Post by the diplomat – Tim Carney, who was the U.S. ambassador to the Sudan from 1995 to Nov. 30, 1997 – Sudan had offered in the spring on 1997 to begin cooperating with the United States on terrorism and share its extensive intelligence trove. The country had until the previous year hosted Bin Laden, before expelling him.

From the piece:

A further change took place in Sudanese thinking in April 1997. The government dropped its demand that Washington lift sanctions in exchange for terrorism cooperation. Sudan’s president, in a letter that Ijaz delivered to U.S. authorities, offered FBI and CIA counter- terrorism units unfettered and unconditional access to Khartoum’s intelligence.

Sudan’s policy shift sparked a debate at the State Department, where foreign service officers believed the United States should reengage Khartoum. By the end of summer 1997, they persuaded incoming Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to let at least some diplomatic staff return to Sudan to press for a resolution of the civil war and pursue offers to cooperate on terrorism. A formal announcement was made in late September.

Two individuals, however, disagreed. NSC terrorism specialist Richard Clarke and NSC Africa specialist Susan Rice, who was about to become assistant secretary of State for African affairs, persuaded Berger, then national security adviser, to overrule Albright. The new policy was reversed after two days.

Overturning a months-long interagency process undermined U.S. counterterrorism efforts. In a final attempt to find a way of cooperating with U.S. authorities, Sudan’s intelligence chief repeated the unconditional offer to share terrorism data with the FBI in a February 1998 letter addressed directly to Middle East and North Africa special agent-in-charge David Williams.But the White House and Susan Rice objected. On June 24, 1998, Williams wrote to Mahdi, saying he was “not in a position to accept your kind offer.” The U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed six weeks later.

And in a 2003 interview with World Magazine, investigative journalist Richard Miniter, who authored the book “Losing Bin Laden,” indicated Carney had also supported accepting offers from the Sudan to turn over Bin Laden himself, and that Rice played a role in rejecting these.

But while that government hosted Mr. bin Laden from April 1991 to May of 1996 and, for its own selfish reasons, wanted to rid themselves of Mr. bin Laden, I don’t see why the Clinton administration couldn’t have accepted this offer. U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Susan Rice did cite the suffering of Christians as one reason that she doubted the integrity of the Sudanese offers. But her analysis largely overlooked the view of U.S. Ambassador to Sudan Tim Carney, who argued for calling Khartoum’s bluff. Accept their offer of Mr. bin Laden and see if the National Islamic Front actually hands him over. If they do, we would have taken a major terrorist off the streets. If they do not, the civilized world will see that, once again, Sudan’s critics are proven right.

A spokesman for Rice did not respond to a request for comment

Rice’s Chances for State May be Sinking

The prospects for a potential a nomination by President Obama of UN Ambassador Susan Rice to be Secretary of State took a direct hit today when she incurred criticism from a key GOP senator who can’t be accused of sexism, racism, extremism in the defense of liberty, or any of the other attacks being hauled at her opponents by the Democratic mob.

Homeland Security Committee ranking member Sen. Susan Colllins, a GOP moderate from Maine, emerged from a meeting today with Rice accusing her of having played an “essentially a political role” during the presidential election by blanketing the Sunday talk shows with the erroneous assertion that the Benghazi attacks stemmed from an anti-Islamic video.

Collins said she is also concerned that the Benghazi attacks are an “eerie echo” of the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa in 1998.

From a report by Politico:

Those bombings in 1998 resulted in the loss of life of 12 Americans as well as many other foreign nationals, and 4,000 people were injured,” Collins told reporters after her hourlong, closed-door meeting with Rice.

“And what troubles me so much is that the Benghazi attacks echoes the attacks on those embassies in 1998 when Susan Rice was head of the African region for our State Department. … She had to be aware of the general threat assessment and of the ambassadors’ request for more security.”

Obama meanwhile today upped his defense of Rice, saying at the start of a Cabinet meeting that she is “extraordinary” and that he “couldn’t be prouder” of her.

GOP Senators “More Troubled” After Rice Meeting

Three Republican senators who have led those concerned with the possible nomination of UN Ambassador Susan Rice to be Secretary of State say they are even more troubled after meeting with her today, according to the Associated Press.

Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire met privately with Rice and acting CIA Director Michael Morell for more than an hour to discuss how she managed to go on TV in the days after the attack to tell the world the Benghazi attack was due to a video, when emerging evidence was already showing that the attacks were pre-planned terrorism.

From the report:

“We are significantly troubled by many of the answers that we got and some that we didn’t get concerning evidence that was leading up to the attack on the consulate and the tragic death of four brave Americans and whether Ambassador Rice was prepared, or informed sufficiently, to give the American people the correct depiction of the events that took place,’’ McCain told reporters.

Said Graham: ‘‘Bottom line I’m more disturbed now than I was before that 16 September explanation.’’

‘‘I’m more troubled today,’’ said Ayotte, who argued that it was clear in the days after the attack that it was terrorism and not a spontaneous demonstration prompted by an anti-Muslim video.

Here’s some video of McCain as he briefed reporters on the meeting:

McCain and Graham had appeared to be backing away from their opposition to Rice in recent days after being pursued by a pack of lawmakers armed with smears that their opposition to her was racist and sexist.

Another Republican, Sen. Bob Corker or Texas, described Rice as better suited to a political than a diplomatic post:

‘‘When I hear Susan talk she seems to me like she’d be a great chairman of the Democratic National Committee,’’ Corker said. ‘‘There is nobody who is more staff supportive of what the administration does. That concerns me in a secretary of state.’’

Rice and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) are the leading candidates to replace departing Secretary of State Clinton.

The New Politics of Discrimination

There’s a new racket in town, and President Obama is running it.

After Sen. John McCain said on the morning of November 14 that UN Ambassador Susan Rice was not qualified to be Secretary of State because of her erroneous assertions that the Benghazi consulate attack was prompted by an anti-Muslim video, the discrimination police descended, unleashed by Obama himself.

The tactic was effective. Sunday, McCain backed down.

Spurred perhaps by the success of his presidential campaign’s efforts to smear Gov. Mitt Romney, Obama had launched a counteroffensive against McCain and other critics of Rice, suggesting the boys were picking on her because she’s a girl:

But when they go after the U.N. Ambassador, apparently because they think she’s an easy target, then they’ve got a problem with me.  And should I choose, if I think that she would be the best person to serve America in the capacity of the State Department, then I will nominate her.

The comments, made during a press conference the afternoon of November 14, were paternalistic and patronizing. He would not have offerred such a defense for a male adviser.

Obama’s allies in the smear racket took the hint.

Two days later, a dozen female House members, most of them African American, charged McCain had revived the Republican war on women and that he’d added blacks to the list too.

Obama November 14, 2012 press conference
Obama at his November 14 press conference.
Photo by Keith Koffler

“There is a clear sexism and racism that goes with these comments being made by unfortunately Sen. McCain and others,” said Rep. Marcia Fudge, the incoming chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Last Tuesday, Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), an African American who is the third ranking Democrat in the House, chimed in with the analysis that Republican usage of the word “incompetent” to describe Rice was a resort to racial “code words.”

By Sunday, McCain was off Rice’s case, saying she deserved a chance “to explain herself” and adding that “she’s not the problem.” Bowing to Obama’s original demand, McCain said Obama was “the problem.”

If McCain was indeed chased away from his position by a race baiting posse, it’s a sad new day in American politics.

Obama, who once sought the mantle of post-racial president, sowed the ground for this new politics by running a campaign laden with slurs against his opponent, including one by Vice President Biden, who said Romney wanted to put blacks “back in chains.”

Now that Obama put the campaign on the lowest road he could find, he appears set to place the government there too.

Amb. Susan Rice Likely to Become Secretary of State

President Obama is planning to brush aside criticism of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and install her as Secretary of State, while possibly offering the Defense Secretary Job to Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), according the Washington Post. Kerry has long wanted the job at State, but Obama will almost certainly choose Rice, who has been with… Continue Reading