Deputy National Security Adviser J.D. Crouch, who helped spearhead the recent policy review that led President Bush to send more U.S. troops to Iraq, announced Friday that he will step down early next month, becoming the latest key aide to depart the White House at a critical juncture.
Crouch, the No. 2 official at the National Security Council, has been a pivotal figure on a series of difficult issues, including Afghanistan, North Korea, Iran and detention policy for terrorism suspects. But it was his interagency group meeting at the White House complex for many weeks last winter that resulted in the ongoing force buildup in Iraq, which has become the defining decision of the year for Bush.
In an interview, Crouch said he is leaving to devote more time to his family after six years in the administration.
Crouch becomes the second top official involved in crafting the new Iraq strategy to leave before it is clear if the new approach will work. Meghan O’Sullivan, the deputy national security adviser for Iraq and Afghanistan, also plans to resign soon. The departures leave National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley a huge hole to fill even as he tries to find a new “war czar” to oversee Iraq.
Baton Rouge, La.
Teen arrested in Clinton threat
A Louisiana State University student told another student he was planning an attack against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, police said.
Richard Ryan Wargo, 19, of Shreveport, was ordered held on $1 million bond Friday. He was booked on counts of terrorizing, communicating false information of planned arson, and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Clinton is scheduled to be in Baton Rouge today to speak at the National Conference of Black Mayors. Police said it was unclear whether the attack was planned for that visit.