White House Shutters Office Dedicated to Closing GTMO

The Morning Brief from the Soufan Group and Fordam Law’s Center on National Security reported this morning:

The Obama administration has reassigned Daniel Fried, the special envoy for closing the U.S. detention center at Guantánamo Bay, and is not expected to replace him with another high-level official, reports the New York Times. Fried’s duties will be “assumed” by the office of the State Department’s legal adviser, an official notice stated. Analysts say the decision is an indication the White House does not view shuttering Guantanamo as a realistic priority, despite prior administration statements to the contrary.

This represents a major set-back for advocates of closing the off-shore detention center. Removing the office from the White House and placing it at State reduces its visibility and weight, thus making even less likely to succeed (if that is even possible). In addition, unless the State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser creates a special position to handle the Guantánamo closure, the project will have to compete for time and attention with other concerns handled by the Legal Advisor. Given the lack of progress on the issue, those other issues will understandably be deemed more pressing, pushing closure of the facility even farther back onto the back burner.
Paul Taylor, Senior Research Fellow
Center for Policy & Research
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About paulwtaylor

Paul is a Senior Fellow at the Center for Policy & Research and an alumnus of Seton Hall Law School and the Whitehead School of Diplomacy and International Relations. Having obtained a joint-degree in law and international relations, he has studied international security, causes of war, national security law, and international law. Additionally, Paul is a veteran of the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division, with deployments to both Afghanistan and to Iraq, and has worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and Global Action to Prevent War. He has also participated in habeas litigation for Guantanamo Bay detainees and investigated various government policies and practices. In addition to his duties as a member of the editorial staff of TransparentPolicy.org, Paul now works at Cydecor, Inc., a defense contractor focused on naval irregular and expeditionary warfare. Paul's research and writing focuses on targeted killing, direct action, drones, and the automation of warfare.

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