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Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta on Tuesday announced the appointment of Mr. Cartwright, who retired in August after not getting the top Pentagon military job as chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

Others Mr. Panetta is naming to the advisory board include former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, former Deputy Attorney General Jamie Gorelick and former Rep. Jane Harman, California Democrat. The high-level board provides advice and opinions to the defense secretary on a range of policy issues.

STATE

Opponents decry ‘bias’ on Canadian oil pipeline

Environmental groups are asking President Obama to reject what they call State Department “bias” in favor of a proposed oil pipeline from Canada. The groups want Mr. Obama personally to decide on a Canadian company’s plan to pipe oil from tar sands in western Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast.

A letter signed by environmental and public interest groups cites internal State Department documents that the groups say demonstrate an overly cozy relationship with executives of Calgary-based TransCanada. The groups are especially concerned about the role played by TransCanada executive Paul Elliott, a former aide in Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign.

The State Department has authority over the 1,700 mile pipeline because it would cross the U.S. border, traveling through Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma.

WHITE HOUSE

Hotel manager named mansion’s chief usher

The White House is about to get its first female chief usher.

First lady Michelle Obama announced on Tuesday that longtime hotel executive Angella Reid will take over the job next month.

The chief usher’s job is a demanding one, overseeing most aspects of White House operations, from tours and state dinners to the mansion’s historic preservation.

Ms. Reid is currently general manager at the Ritz-Carlton in Alexandria, but has also helped run properties in Miami, New York, Washington and Rocky Hill, Conn. She’s replacing Rear Adm. Stephen Rochon, the first black to hold the usher’s post, who took a post at the Department of Homeland Security.

SENATE

Lawmakers OK Ford as ambassador to Syria

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