McGurk was really a Bush appointee and I had stated my doubt about the Obama pick in my diary [dated March 25, 2012]– Who Is ‘Surge’ McGurk, Nominee US Ambassador to Iraq I won’t shed a tear, he is a Republican as far as I could see, one of their own. An easy Barack Obama pick gone wrong, or was it hard-nosed Hillary Clinton’s choice?
(The Hill) – President Obama’s pick to be the next ambassador of Iraq has withdrawn his nomination amid allegations and emails detailing an affair with a reporter covering him while he was stationed in Iraq.
The White House confirmed Monday that Brett McGurk withdrew himself from consideration to be ambassador to Iraq, one day before he was scheduled to get a confirmation vote in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
McGurk’s chances to become ambassador were derailed over a series of emails posted online that he and Wall Street Journal reporter Gina Chon exchanged when they were both in Iraq. McGurk was married to someone else at the time, and later married Chon.
Republicans expressed resistance to Obama’s pick after the emails, which contained racy exchanges between McGurk and Chon, surfaced on a website that posts leaked documents. The senators asked Obama to withdraw McGurk from consideration.
McGurk’s withdrawal, which was first reported by The New York Times, came Monday in a letter to Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, where he wrote that he was stepping aside because Iraq needed an ambassador quickly — implying that his nomination was sure to lead to a fight in the Senate.
(Statesman) – A former Supreme Court law clerk to the late Chief Justice William Rehnquist, McGurk worked as a lawyer for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and joined Bush’s National Security Council staff, where in 2007 and 2008, when the emails were written, he was the lead U.S. negotiator on security agreements with Iraq.
After a brief stint outside government with the Council on Foreign Relations, a think tank, he returned to Baghdad last year as a senior adviser to the current U.S. ambassador to Iraq, James Jeffrey.
Several Republican senators, including Sen. John McCain, have criticized McGurk for his failure to negotiate a residual U.S. force in Iraq after combat troops left in December 2011. McCain said this week that the “unraveling of Iraq” underscores why Americans should have had a small force in the country.