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Anti-terror expert tapped for key Iraq role

From Barbara Starr

Iraqis walk among the debris in Baghdad.
Iraqis walk among the debris in Baghdad.

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LONDON, England (CNN) -- A high-level diplomat with anti-terrorism experience is being earmarked to lead the U.S. reconstruction effort in Iraq, a senior U.S. defense official said Friday.

L. Paul Bremer would report to either Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld or the head of the U.S. Central Command, Army Gen. Tommy Franks, according to the official.

Retired Army Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, head of the Pentagon's Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance in Iraq, would report to Bremer, the official said.

At a briefing with reporters Friday in London after meetings with British officials, Rumsfeld declined to comment about the Bremer appointment, saying the White House has not made an announcement yet.

As for whether such a move signals displeasure with Garner, Rumsfeld said there is "no unhappiness with respect to Gen. Jay Garner."

"There is a great deal of pleasure in the fact that this man has undertaken and performed superbly for our country and for the coalition," Rumsfeld said.

Last June, President Bush appointed Bremer as chairman of his Homeland Security Advisory Council, and he was chairman of the National Commission on Terrorism in 1999.

Bremer, who joined the diplomatic service in 1966, has held ranking positions under a half-dozen secretaries of state, serving in Washington as special assistant or executive assistant. In 1983, President Reagan named him the U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands.

A biography said he served during the Reagan administration as an ambassador-at-large for counterterrorism, responsible for developing and implementing a U.S. strategy and policy to fight global terrorism.

He has been chairman and chief executive officer of the Marsh Crisis Consulting Co. since October 2001.

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