Iraq Ambassador Elect Withdraws
Brett McGurk, President Obama’s choice to become the ambassador of the U.S. to Iraq, has withdrawn his name from consideration for the appointment after it came to light he had exchanged a number of emails that critics considered improper with a journalist, while on a tour previously in Baghdad.
McGurk was an adviser to President Bush in Iraq and helped to negotiate the accord that eventually paved the way for U.S. troops to withdraw from the country. He withdrew his name only 24 hours after David Plouffe; an Obama adviser had pledged the full support of the White House.
Only words of praise were expressed about McGurk. He was thanked for his service on behalf of the country, which included working under two administrations. He worked from the beginning of the war through to its end and even through this past spring’s transition period.
Six of nine members of the Foreign Relations Committee, who wrote Obama and urged him to drop McGurk’s nomination prior to McGurk withdrawing his name, did not support McGurk for the position. They said that McGurk did not have sufficient experience to operate such a large embassy and that his unprofessional conduct demonstrated poor judgment on his part and would affect his credibility in Iraq.
McGurk and Gina Chon a reporter from the Wall Street Journal carried on an affair while the two were in Iraq, according to reports from the media that cited emails posted on a website. The two are married now and last week Chon resigned as reporter for the WSJ. The newspaper said Chon had broken internal rules showing unpublished articles to McGurk.