Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan, the chair of the House Intelligence Committee, called the president’s selection of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice to become his national security adviser on Wednesday “curious.”
“Well, it’s curious that they would choose Ambassador Rice as the national security adviser, only because she’s such a political lightning rod now,” Rogers said on Andrea Mitchell Reports Wednesday. “The point was how politically charged she is on Capitol Hill, to go to a post that is supposed to be void of political controversy…you want that to be as nonpartisan as you can.”
Last fall, Rice endured an onslaught of criticism from congressional Republicans over her account of the September 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, which killed four Americans. A release of internal government emails in May confirmed that Rice spoke from approved talking points, which mischaracterized the attack as stemming from a spontaneous protest over an anti-Muslim video, rather than a planned terrorist attack.
Rice subsequently withdrew her name from consideration to succeed Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, which would have required Senate confirmation. The national security adviser is named by appointment.
President Obama praised Rice’s dedication as a public servant while announcing her appointment Wednesday from the White House.