McGurk meeting with a Peshmerga fighter battling ISIL in Iraq near Gwer. Brett McGurk Twitter
McGurk meeting with a Peshmerga fighter battling ISIS in Iraq near Gwer. Brett McGurk Twitter

Washington — Former West Hartford resident Brett McGurk, who under the Obama administration helped coordinate the war against the Islamic State, has been asked to stay in his position after President-elect Donald Trump takes office.

He is one of about 50 Obama appointees who will remain in their federal posts in to maintain “continuity” until Trump’s picks are confirmed, incoming White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Thursday.

A 1991 Conard High School graduate who received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut before obtaining a law degree from Columbia University, McGurk has had a long career at the State Department despite his relatively young age.

McGurk, 44, worked with the provisional Iraqi government after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. He was one of the few officials from the Bush administration to work under Obama after the 2008 election.

In 2013 he was made a deputy assistant secretary of state for Iraq and Iran in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. From that position, McGurk was an early advocate for the need to combat ISIS.

He gave members of Congress an early education about the dangers posed by the radical Islamist group, which few lawmakers had ever heard of before.

In 2015 he became Obama’s envoy to the international coalition fighting the Islamic State.

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Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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