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WHITE HOUSE

Crocker eyed for Afghan envoy

Several sources have told the Associated Press that President Obama will likely name seasoned diplomat Ryan Crocker as the next U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan.

Confirmation would reunite Mr. Crocker with Gen. David H. Petraeus, re-creating the diplomatic and military “dream team” credited with rescuing the flagging American mission in Iraq. It also would be a first step in a sweeping turnover of the top leadership responsible for the war in Afghanistan.

Officials say Mr. Crocker has emerged as the leading candidate to replace Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, a former Army general who had cool relationships with the White House, U.S. military leaders and Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

The sources spoke on the condition of anonymity because the decision is not final.

JUSTICE

Holder defends Clement over DOMA role

The former Bush administration lawyer under fire from gay activists for defending the federal ban on gay marriage is getting support from an unexpected source - Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

Mr. Holder told reporters Tuesday that Paul Clement is “doing that which lawyers do” to take on the responsibility of representing the lawmakers who wrote the ban.

“Paul Clement’s a great lawyer,” Mr. Holder said. “He has done a lot of really great things for this nation.”

President Obama ordered Mr. Holder’s Justice Department in February to stop defending the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman. That led House Republicans to hire Mr. Clement to take up the cause.

But Mr. Clement’s firm, Atlanta-based King & Spalding, announced Monday that it was withdrawing from the case amid criticism from gay rights advocacy groups. Mr. Clement is moving to another firm to continue the work.

NEW JERSEY

Olympian can’t run for Senate

TRENTON | New Jersey’s top election official has ruled that nine-time Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis fails to meet the four-year state residency requirement to run for elected office.

Secretary of State Kim Guadagno decided Tuesday that Mr. Lewis can’t continue his run for state Senate as a Democrat.

She ordered the 49-year-old’s name to be stricken from the June primary ballot.

The decision by Miss Guadagno, a Republican, can be appealed.

Miss Guadagno rejected an administrative law judge’s recommendation that Mr. Lewis be allowed to stay in the race to represent the state’s south-central region.

Republicans challenged Mr. Lewis’ run, saying he voted in California until recently.

The former track star told the Philadelphia Inquirer that Gov. Chris Christie, a Republican, tried to talk him out of running.

The Christie administration says Mr. Lewis misunderstood the talk.

PENNSYLVANIA

Ex-spokesman at State gets academic post

STATE COLLEGE | A former U.S. Department of State spokesman who quit after criticizing the military’s treatment of an Army private accused of leaking documents to the WikiLeaks website has accepted an academic position at Penn State’s law school.

P.J. Crowley’s one-year appointment as the Omar Bradley Chair of Strategic Leadership begins Aug. 1.

The law school said Tuesday Mr. Crowley’s research and teaching will focus on national security policy, public diplomacy and the impact of the global media environment on policy and politics.

Mr. Crowley quit his post as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s chief spokesman after being quoted as telling college students during a seminar the military’s handling of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning at a brig was “ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid.”

President Obama later called Pfc. Manning’s detention appropriate.

A defense lawyer has said Pfc. Manning’s treatment was substandard.

JUSTICE

Probe ended in 2005 leak case

The Justice Department has dropped its investigation into a former department lawyer who tipped off the media about the Bush administration’s warrantless-eavesdropping program.

The department informed Thomas Tamm’s attorneys that he will not be prosecuted for the leak that then-President George W. Bush called a breach of national security.

Mr. Tamm has said he called the New York Times about the program because it “didn’t smell right” and he thought the public had a right to know.

The Times won the Pulitzer Prize for its 2005 story exposing the program designed to catch terrorists by eavesdropping on international phone calls and emails of U.S. residents without court warrants.

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