Susan Rice, Benghazi, and Domestic Policy

The Story:

President-elect Biden has named Susan Rice to chair his Domestic Policy Council. The choice is both expected and unlikely. It is expected because Rice is a veteran policy maker, the US Ambassador to the United Nations under President Obama. This choice seems unlikely, though, because domestic policy has never been her wheelhouse. Her reputation is in the fields of national security and diplomacy.


Rice was a foreign policy aide to Massachusetts ex-Governor Michael Dukakis when he was running for President, in 1988. She was on the staff of the National Security Council through the first term of President Clinton and was special assistant to the president on Africa Affairs early in the second term.

Under President Obama, Rice was Ambassador to the UN and this put her in the firing line after the US Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans were killed by anti-American rioters on September 2012. Rice testified before Congress that the rioters had been angered by the broadcast of a video deemed offensive to Muslims.

Rice has been criticized for this, because subsequent information has indicated that the Benghazi attack was cold-blooded, not spontaneous, and had been planned prior to that broadcast.

The Thing to Know:

Benghazi has been exhaustively investigated. Yes, Rice was wrong about the nature of the attack. But, no, it does not appear that she lied — she relied on the intelligence available to her at the time. Finally, it may be out of concern about bringing up that delicate subject that Biden has assigned to her a domestic policy role, and one that does not need Senate approval.





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