President Barack Obama will announce a shake-up of his national security team Wednesday, with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice taking over as national security adviser, according to news reports.
White House officials told Politico that Tom Donilon, the current national security adviser, is stepping down to spend more time with his family and that Rice will be tapped as his replacement.
Rice is a figure at the center of the Benghazi, Libya, controversy, having delivered misleading statements at the least and falsities at most to the public via Sunday television shows on the circumstances surrounding the attacks that killed four American diplomats.
She was rumored to be the president's top pick for Secretary of State to replace outgoing Hillary Clinton, but was panned by even Republican moderates after a series of meetings aimed to smooth her path to confirmation. Rice withdrew her name from consideration for the position.
As national security adviser, she would not be subject to Senate confirmation, a fact that won't likely quell Republican criticism. Sens. John McCain of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, the conservatives leading the anti-Rice charge, will likely be more emboldened to press the White House on Benghazi as she moves up in the Obama administration.
Rice, an African-American woman, has will add diversity to Obama's top circle of advisers. She previously served under President Bill Clinton as a national security staffer and in the state department.