2012 Rank: 25
National Security Adviser
Rice, long among President Barack Obama’s most trusted national security and foreign policy aides, is said to make her mind up quickly and not change it
easily. When GOP senators blocked her from becoming the administration’s second secretary of state — they cited her statements after the Benghazi attack — she got a job even closer to the president and one that didn’t need Senate approval. Rice is part of a tight inner circle that sets the policy agenda, whether the topic is intervention in Syria, talks with Iran, Beijing’s destabilizing moves in Asia, the Afghanistan drawdown, the controversy over the NSA’s electronic surveillance programs, shifting the armed drones from CIA to Pentagon control, and the fight against al-Qaeda. A tough bureaucratic infighter, Rice cut her teeth during the Clinton administration, spending two years on the National Security Council handling African affairs before becoming assistant secretary of state for African affairs in 1997-2001.
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