ABC covers Iraq ambassadorial nominee’s leaked emails

• June 8, 2012 9:01 am


ABC News reported Friday on the explicit emails between President Obama’s ambassadorial nominee to Iraq and a Wall Street Journal reporter, a story first reported by the Washington Free Beacon’s Adam Kredo.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOUS: We have a story about the perils of email. It involves the president's nominee for ambassador to Iraq. His undiplomatic, at times sexually explicit emails to a reporter that later became his wife are raising questions on Capitol Hill that could put his nomination at risk. ABC’s Jake Tapper is here.

JAKE TAPPER: It's tough to imagine a more sensitive position than U.S. ambassador to Iraq. But as you say, there are serious questions about whether or not president Obama's nominee will be able to be confirmed—with one senator refusing to even meet with him because of those racy e-mails sent from Iraq in 2008. Brett McGurk was a national security staffer for presidents Obama and bush. His Senate confirmation hearings were earlier this week.

BRETT MCGURK: the buck would stop with me for every, single decision. We can mediate back and forth and be constantly, actively engaged.

TAPPER: But after the hearings ended earlier this week, e-mails were leaked that showed communications, sexually explicit, between McGurk, who was then married, and another woman, Wall Street Journal reporter Gina Chon. Emails confirmed authentic by ABC News. McGurk has since divorced and he and Chon got married. The questions he may face from senators are not as much about the affair, as they are about information discussed with the woman he was wooing.

JOSH ROGIN: There is concern whether or not he did divulge information that he shouldn't have, and whether his conduct represents a level of immaturity that would bar him from taking on a very sensitive national security post in the middle of a delicate situation in Iraq.

TAPPER: In one email, Chon reports to media as vultures attacking sources. To which he replies, "If treated to many glasses of wine, you could be the chosen vulture." He talks about bringing her to dinner with a leading Iraqi politician, though he ultimately does not. "I had a very good day with the Iraqis," he emails her, "the best yet. Can't tell you about it, of course, but you should definitely stay past Sunday." "Stop being such a tease," she writes back. "This is like a journalist version of [bleep]," using a term for sexual frustration."

ROGIN: it doesn't necessarily mean there was impropriety, but it creates the appearance of impropriety.

TAPPER: Even McGurk’s allies say now that with these emails out there, he will have to answer more questions about this on Capitol Hill. Right now, there is one Senator, Jim Inhofe from Oklahoma, who says his staff refused to meet with McGurk because of the emails, and won't do it until the questions are answered.