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Indian American to be Hillary’s top aide

india Updated: Jan 15, 2009 22:43 IST
V Krishna

Rahul ‘Richard’ Verma, a partner with the international law firm of Steptoe & Johnson here, is all set to become a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, sources said.

He will soon be nominated as assistant secretary of state for legislative affairs by President-elect Barack Obama, the sources said. He would be the highest-ranking Indian American ever in the department. The appointment would have to be confirmed by the Senate.

The assistant secretary for legislative affairs acts as the State Department’s lead in dealings with Congress, where Verma enjoys good relations with many members as well as their staff.

For five years until 2007 he was a key aide to Senator Harry Reid, the current majority leader, serving as senior counsel and then as senior national security adviser. He has also worked for Representative John P. Murtha in the House.

Verma, who was appointed in May to the congressional Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation and Terrorism, is also working with the Obama transition team on an agency review at the Defence Department.

He is a former country director for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, a non-profit organisation working to strengthen democratic institutions worldwide.

Verma is a veteran of the US Air Force, where he served in the Judge Advocate General Corps. His military decorations include the Meritorious Service Medal and the Air Force Commendation Medal.

He attended Lehigh University in Pennsylvania on an Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corps scholarship and graduated with honours in 1990.

He received his J.D. degree cum laude from American University Law School in 1993 and an LL.M. with distinction from the Georgetown University Law Centre in 1998. He is married with three young children.