Rice – a diplomat with aggressive negotiating style
Susan Rice, who has been appointed US national security adviser, has been an outspoken US ambassador at the United Nations, successfully pushing for international intervention in Libya and tougher sanctions against Iran and North Korea.
But her accomplishments were overshadowed by her role in the administration's bungled account of the terrorist attack in Libya that killed four Americans, including the US ambassador.
Rice became the face of the Benghazi controversy when, relying on talking points from the administration, she said during several television appearances that the attacks were spontaneous. The assessment turned out to be incorrect and Republicans accused her of being part of a cover-up.
The furore scuttled Rice's long-held hopes of becoming secretary of state when it became clear she would not gain Senate confirmation to that post.
Rice (48) is expected to bring her aggressive and blunt negotiating style to her new, higher-profile job, which she will start in July.
She takes over at a time when Russia and the US are struggling to find a political way out of Syria's civil war – one of the most intractable foreign policy challenges facing the Obama administration. As the top US diplomat at the UN, Rice has been at the centre of international sparring over Syria.
A graduate of Stanford University, Rice was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and served in the Clinton administration in various capacities from 1993-97, rising to assistant secretary of state for African affairs.
EDITH M LEDERER