On Monday, January 28, 2013, the Obama Administration sent the strongest message to date regarding call to close Guantanamo Bay. By reassigning Daniel Fried, the Special Convey in charge of closing GTMO, the Administration has signaled that it has no plans to shut the detention center at any point in the near future.
President Obama appointed Mr. Fried in 2009 to the post and charged him with the responsibility of trying to close the infamous detention center. Since his appointment, Mr. Fried has negotiated with various third-party parties countries to accept on behalf of 40 “low-level” detainees who were cleared for release from GTMO. However, with the abrupt about-face by the Administration it appears that President Obama’s promise to close GTMO in his second term took several steps backwards. Mr. Fried has been reassigned to act as a sanctions coordinator for the State Department and no other State Department official has been assigned to be his replacement.
This news comes on the heals of a scandal at the pre-trial hearing of the alleged 911 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed where an “external body” censored portions of the audio feed from the court without the Judges knowledge or approval.
In what has already been an active week at the beguiled detention center, one thing became abundantly clear – GTMO is here to stay.
Sean Kennedy, Research Fellow
Center for Policy & Research