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United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice withdrew her name from consideration as the next secretary of state following weeks of attacks on her national security bona fides.
Rice came under intense criticism for promulgating erroneous information about the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans.
The Washington Free Beacon later revealed that she has investments of hundreds of thousands of dollars in several energy companies known for doing business with Iran.
Her financial entanglement with these companies was criticized as a clear conflict of interest and raised further questions about her fitness to lead the State Department.
NBC News reported Thursday that Rice had formally withdrawn her name from consideration in a letter to President Barack Obama, who had fiercely defended Rice as scrutiny of her record increased.
“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,” Rice wrote to Obama, according to NBC.
“That trade-off is simply not worth it to our country. … Therefore, I respectfully request that you no longer consider my candidacy at this time,” she wrote.
Foreign policy experts had said that Rice’s Iran-related investments would have come under intense scrutiny by lawmakers involved in the eventual confirmation process.
“That Susan Rice invested in companies doing business in Iran shows either the Obama administration’s lack of seriousness regarding Iran or Rice’s own immorality,” said Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser on Iran and Iraq, told the Free Beacon at the time her investments came to light. “Either way, her actions undercut her ability to demand our allies unity on Iran.”
NBC’s Andrea Mitchell attributed Rice’s withdrawal, in part, to criticisms of her investments.
“I think what happened was that it became untenable,” Mitchell said Thursday. “That they began to look through–the critics began to look through all sorts of other aspects of her background, her finances, the kinds of things that would come out normally in a confirmation, but she didn’t have the defense, the group around her, that you would have if you were the nominee from the White House, if you had been vetted, and had that whole array of defenses.”
Rice became a lightning rod for criticism following the Benghazi assault and later came to be seen as the face of the administration’s botched response to the attack.
She appeared on several Sunday morning news programs claiming that the Benghazi assault was “spontaneous” and resulted from an anti-Islam YouTube video.
It later came to light that the attack was coordinated by an offshoot of al Qaeda and had nothing to do with the YouTube clip.
Intelligence officials have indicated that Rice’s talking points were altered by the Central Intelligence Agency to reflect a narrative about the attack that was more convenient for the Obama administration.
Rice also faced criticism for what some have described as her botched response to the atrocities in Congo.
Human rights activists and others say that Rice failed to pressure Rwandan President Paul Kagame to end the violence. Rice is said to have had a close relationship with Kagame.
Sen. John Kerry (D., Mass.) is the leading contender to replace Secretary of State Hillary Clinton now that Rice has withdrawn her name from consideration.
Fox News reported Thursday afternoon that Rice’s name is being discussed for national security adviser, a position that does not require Senate confirmation.