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