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Official: U.S. chief in Baghdad leaving

Report: Jay Garner, head of reconstruction, also departing

The Washington Post reports that retired Lt. Gen. Jay Garner will be leaving his post as U.S. leader of Iraqi reconstruction.
The Washington Post reports that retired Lt. Gen. Jay Garner will be leaving his post as U.S. leader of Iraqi reconstruction.

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Barbara Bodine, U.S. coordinator for central Iraq in charge of Baghdad, will leave Iraq on Sunday after just three weeks on the job, a senior U.S. official told CNN.

The official said Bodine, who effectively was the interim mayor of Baghdad, was leaving to take a job with the State Department in Washington, and the move was not unexpected.

The Washington Post reported Sunday that Bodine, who was ambassador to Yemen during the deadly bombing of the USS Cole in October 2000, was being "reassigned" as part of a shake-up in the U.S.-led interim administration of Iraq.

Retired Lt. Gen. Jay Garner, leader of the reconstruction effort, is also stepping down.

L. Paul Bremer III, now in the Persian Gulf region, will take over as chief administrator of the U.S.'s reconstruction effort in Iraq "within weeks," a senior Defense Department official told CNN Sunday. (Full story)

On Tuesday, President Bush appointed Bremer, a former State Department counterterrorism chief, as the presidential envoy to Iraq. (Full story)

Garner was criticized for waiting too long before arriving in Baghdad and for allowing Iraqi antiquities to be stolen.

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.

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld denied the administration was unhappy with Garner.

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