Guantánamo Prison Stays Open, while the U.S. Office Trying to Close it gets Shut Down

Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Daniel Fried (AP Photo)

Closure has finally come to Guantánamo, only not the prison.


What closed was the special office within the State Department charged with helping transfer detainees from the controversial military prison.


Ambassador Daniel Fried, who ran the office, was reassigned as coordinator for sanctions policy, and President Barack Obama decided not to replace Fried. It was stated that the office’s legal advisor will take over Fried’s former responsibilities.


Fried had been assigned to his position in 2009, carrying out duties aligned with the new president’s promise to close the Guantánamo Bay Detention Facility within one year.

During Obama’s first two years in office, Fried was busy negotiating with foreign governments to get them to take many of Guantánamo’s detainees. The total at the prison dropped from 242 to 166 under Fried’s efforts, with three men dying in custody.


But the repatriations nearly ground to a halt last year, when only four detainees were moved out of Guantánamo.


Officially, the White House says it still wants to close the prison in Cuba. But Obama has continued to abide by Congress’ demands that the prison remain open.


Meanwhile, the prison’s most notorious detainees—Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other September 11 plotters—made their first public appearance in four months, as their pretrial hearings resumed. Journalists were able to observe most of the proceedings via closed-circuit feed shown at Fort Meade in Maryland.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

State Dept. Shutters Guantánamo Closure Office (by Josh Gerstein, Politico)

Office Working to Close Guantánamo Is Shuttered (by Charlie Savage, New York Times)

Obama's Failed Promise to Close Gitmo: A Timeline (by David Wagner, The Atlantic)

Obama Signs into Law Indefinite Detention of Americans without Trial (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Moving Guantánamo Prisoners to U.S. is not a Problem (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Al-Qaeda Terrorists in U.S. Prisons? They’re Already Here (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


Kumar 11 years ago
. . .and they quickly redpnosed, But don't blame us for Bush! We did our best! (Similar story last week with a whole family from Georgia got a cool vibe from them & later squeezed a pro-Kerry remark from them. The battle wages on.)

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