Posted by on July 10, 2012 in Blog

By Taif Jany

2012 Summer Intern

On Monday, June 18, President Obama’s nominee to become the U.S. ambassador to Iraq withdrew his nomination after facing strong opposition from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In a letter viewed by Reuters, Brett McGurk wrote to President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton saying, “I believe it is in the best interests of the country, and our life together, to withdraw my nomination and serve in another capacity.”

The White House expressed regret over McGurk’s decision, yet praised all the work that he has done in Iraq. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor said, “We greatly appreciate Brett’s years of service on behalf of the United States, to include tireless and effective leadership in Iraq from the height of the war to the moment our last troops left Iraq in December and through the challenging transition earlier this year.”

McGurk indicated that his decision came after weeks of controversy and speculations that circled around email exchanges between him and Wall Street Journalist Gina Chon, whom he later married. These emails were posted by Cryptome on Flickr which included the use of improper sexual references that were exchanged between McGurk and Chon. These emails also included McGurk’s use of his position to secure a meeting for Chon with top Iraqi political figures. Others questioned why Chon was using a Wall Street Journal email account and signature even though that is against the paper’s policies.

Six Republican members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee strongly criticized McGurk’s leadership in a letter to President Obama, saying “we believe that nominee lacks the leadership and management experience necessary to head America’s largest embassy, in one of the world’s most volatile regions.” The six members also wrote that his “unprofessional conduct demonstrates poor judgment and will affect the nominee credibility in the country where he has been nominated to serve.”

McGurk’s wife resigned from her job a week before McGurk announced his withdrawal due to her acknowledgment that she had sent unpublished articles to him, which goes against the newspaper’s policies.

comments powered by Disqus