USA Today reports on the latest twists and turns in the McGurk saga:
An aide to Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla, the second-ranking GOP member on the Senate Armed Services committee, said that the senator was concerned about the sexytime e-mails and a separate unsubstantiated allegation of inappropriate behavior by McGurk in Baghdad. The senator has decided to put off considering McGurk’s nomination and canceled a meeting with the nominee after learning of the e-mails. “Until those issues are cleared up, he will not meet with Mr. McGurk,” said an Inhofe spokesman.
The Washington Free Beacon reports “One source on Capitol Hill with knowledge of the nomination confirmed that the State Department had acknowledged the emails came from their system.”
As for Ms. Chon, the object of McGurk’s email affections, the Wall Street Journal says that “Ms. Chon, currently a reporter in Money & Investing, asked for a formal leave of absence from The Wall Street Journal in March when it appeared her then-fiancé might be nominated as ambassador to Iraq. The request was granted at the time, and the leave is scheduled to begin later this summer.” That seems to confirm that McGurk divorced his wife, to whom he was married whilst romancing Chon, and is now married to Chon.
The Journal apparently did not find reason to comment on whether it condoned its reporters being romantically involved with their sources, even as it back-backhandedly confirmed that its reporter was romantically involved with her source.
Senator McCain has previously taken issue with McGurk, because of failed negotiations with the Iraqis last year to keep residual US forces in the country beyond 2011. McGurk led those negotiations. McCain and others had also questioned whether McGurk, who unlike his post-Saddam era predecessors has never held a previous ambassadorship, was ready for the job of running the world’s largest embassy.
And just to sweeten the deal, the Iraqi National Accord, the most prominent opposition bloc in Iraq’s parliament, has earlier written to Congress to oppose his nomination and say he was too close to Shiite politicians. The group has since backed off a notch, saying they’ll work with whoever the US sends to Baghdad ’cause they kind of have to, but it does set the wrong tone.
Readers of my book, We Meant Well, will remember an incident where an innocent romantic email from a male State Department contractor to a female soldier kicked off a major incident that ended up with the contractor being swiftly fired for misuse of the official email system for personal use. If McGurk is allowed to end up as ambassador, that would be only the latest in a long series of double standards of conduct at the State Department.
The rule at Foggy Bottom is the higher the rank, the less the spank when it comes to naughtiness. That is not to imply, of course, that McGurk is into bondage and discipline play…
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