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Bush taps envoy to Iraq

Bremer to work with Garner

Paul Bremer, left, with President Bush in the Oval Office.
Paul Bremer, left, with President Bush in the Oval Office.

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U.S. President George W. Bush has appointed a former ambassador and counterterrorism expert to oversee the rebuilding of post-war Iraq. CNN's John King reports (May 7)
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WASHINGTON (CNN) U.S. President George W. Bush has appointed a former ambassador and counterterrorism expert to oversee the rebuilding of post-war Iraq.

Former State Department counterterrorism chief L. Paul Bremer will be the top coalition official in Iraq, leading reconstruction efforts in the war-torn country, and overseeing political development.

In what appears to be a shake-up of post-war planning in Iraq, Bremer is being sent as presidential envoy and will eventually report to U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.

Gen. Tommy Franks, U.S. Central Command chief, will continue to supervise coalition military personnel in the region.

The man who is currently in charge of overseeing Iraq's rebuilding, retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, reports to Franks.

But White House officials say Garner will at some point report to Bremer.

The two men will work together as issues dictate, the sources said.

Bremer will likely focus on political issues, including overseeing the emergence of a provisional authority in Baghdad, while Garner will be concerned with restoring services and civil authority, Pentagon and administration officials said.

The provisional authority essentially is the "face of the U.S. government" in Iraq, Pentagon sources said.

However, all could change in the days ahead as the restoration process continues and security in Iraq improves, Pentagon sources told CNN.

Garner has been criticized by some observers who said he waited too long before arriving in Baghdad and, as such, allowed Iraqi antiquities to be stolen. Pentagon officials have strongly defended Garner's performance.

Bush administration sources told CNN they hope Bremer, with his 23 years of diplomatic service, will be more politically astute in handling the expectations in Washington and in Baghdad.

Bush said Bremer shares values with most Americans, including "a deep desire to have an orderly country in Iraq, a country that's free and at peace -- one where an ordinary person is free to achieve his or her dreams."

When a senior defense official first told CNN about the expected appointment last week, it led to questions about whether there was dissatisfaction with Garner in the administration.

There is much that remains to be rebuilt in Iraq.
There is much that remains to be rebuilt in Iraq.

Rumsfeld denied that was the case, saying Garner "is doing a truly outstanding job for the nation. Any suggestion to the contrary is flat untrue and mischievous."

Bremer is the former chairman and CEO of the Marsh Crisis Consulting. Before that, he was managing director of Kissinger Associates, Henry Kissinger's consulting firm, from 1989 to 2001.

Bremer was ambassador to the Netherlands from 1983 to 1986 and ambassador-at-large for counterterrorism from 1986 to 1989. In 1999, House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Illinois, appointed him chairman of the National Commission on Terrorism.

The president made the announcement with Bremer at his side during a brief meeting with reporters in the Oval Office.

-- Pentagon Correspondent Barbara Starr and CNN White House Correspondent Suzanne Malveaux contributed to this report.


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