Tags: War on Terrorism | Ashton Carter | Guantanamo Bay | closing | delays | signature conflict

Pentagon Chief Ash Carter Dragging Feet on Gitmo Releases

Image: Pentagon Chief Ash Carter Dragging Feet on Gitmo Releases
Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter and President Barack Obama (Getty Images)

By    |   Monday, 10 Aug 2015 07:00 PM

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and the White House are reportedly at odds over the pace of closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility — and the friction is holding up fulfillment of a major campaign promise of President Barack Obama.

The Daily Beast reports the White House believes Carter doesn't want to be held accountable for the transfer of detainees and their conduct afterward — to the point of defying Obama's Guantanamo policy.

Carter’s signature is needed for the release of 52 of the 116 detainees cleared for leaving the detention facility; current law bars federal funds from being used to transfer Guant√°namo Bay prisoners to American soil.

According to the Daily Beast, Carter and the Defense Department aren't moving fast enough to close the facility; so far, Carter has signed off on only a handful of detainees at one time and has waited weeks to act on those cases.

Carter "is definitely under pressure… The White House, if it had its way, would like to see more regular signatures," a source tells the Daily Beast.

Word of the friction between the White House and Pentagon over the transfers is getting through to Congress, where lawmakers are waiting for a closure plan, the Daily Beast reports.

"The Obama administration is putting pressure on Carter to sign off on releasing some additional detainees," an unnamed Senate aide tells the Daily Beast.

"But some of the individuals they’re requesting, Carter doesn’t feel comfortable putting his name on the line, to sign off on them."

Tensions between the Pentagon and the White House over Guantanamo aren't new; there was speculation former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was forced from office because of his unwillingness to sign off on the release of detainees at the pace the administration wanted.

Some defense officials defended Carter’s actions, noting cases before him are among the toughest, and "the easy cases have been taken care of already," one source tells the Daily Beast.

The White House denied any friction between Carter and the administration.

Last month, the White House national security adviser Susan Rice reportedly presented Carter with a memo that said he would have one month to make decisions on transferring the prisoners away from Guantanamo.

The White House also at the time announced it was in the final phase of putting together a plan that would allow them to close the prison.

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Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and the White House are reportedly at odds over the pace of closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility - and the friction is holding up fulfillment of a major campaign promise of President Barack Obama.The Daily Beast reports the White...
Ashton Carter, Guantanamo Bay, closing, delays, signature conflict
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2015-00-10
Monday, 10 Aug 2015 07:00 PM
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