Clarke to exit Pentagon post


Pentagon spokeswoman Victoria Clarke announced Monday that she will leave her post
as assistant secretary of defense for public affairs June 20.

Clarke cited personal reasons for her departure.

"I depart sadly, because this has been the best professional experience of my
life," she said. "It has been a true honor working for the men and women of the
U.S. military."

Clarke, who has young children, has commented that the Pentagon job's demands
were much greater than she counted on following the Sept. 11 attacks and the
subsequent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, but she stayed out of sense of

Defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld called Clarke "a gifted communicator."

Clarke, former communications chief for what is now called the National Cable
& Telecommunications Association, oversaw the Pentagon's program for
embedding reporters with troops during the last Iraq war.

"She has developed countless new methods to tell the story of our fighting
forces and bring their courage, dedication and professionalism into sharp
focus for all Americans," Rumsfeld said. "She will be sorely missed."

Lawrence Di Rita, special assistant to the secretary of defense, will assume
Clarke's duties until a permanent replacement is confirmed.