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Iraq ambassador nominee withdraws under political scrutiny

 

President Obama's nominee to become ambassador to Iraq withdrew on Monday in light of revelations of personal conduct that spurred questions about his fitness to serve.

Brett McGurk wrote the president and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Monday to notify them that he had withdrawn his name from consideration over the position. Conservatives had questioned McGurk's nomination after emails surfaced detailing an extramarital affair between McGurk and a reporter, whom he subsequently married.

"[A]fter much thought over the past week, and having discussed the issue with my wife ... I bvelieve it is in the best interests of the country, and of our life together, to withdraw my nomination and serve in another capacity," McGurk wrote.

Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for the National Security Council, said: "While we regret to see Brett withdraw his candidacy there is no doubt that he will be called on again to serve the country."

The withdrawal means that the president must nominate another ambassadorial candidate for the high-profile position in Iraq. The relationship between the U.S. and Iraq is at an especially important inflection point, given the transition to a post-war relationship between the two nations.