Tags: Homeland Security | War on Terrorism | Guantanamo | Clifford Sloan | negotiator | leaving

'Skillful' Gitmo Negotiator Quits in Blow to Shutdown Plans

By    |   Monday, 22 Dec 2014 11:10 PM

A State Department envoy whose "skillful negotiating" helped transfer 34 detainees from Guantanamo Bay is leaving in what reportedly is a blow to President Barack Obama's push to empty the military prison.

Clifford Sloan is returning to his former law firm.

"This guy promised me 18 months, and he delivered maximum effort for each of those 18 months. Cliff was very skillful negotiating with our foreign partners and allies, and it's a big part of why we moved 34 detainees on his watch, with more on the way," Secretary of State John Kerry said.

Sloan was appointed in June 2013 after Obama's announced push to close Guantanamo. The president said special envoys at the State and Defense departments would oversee the effort.

Kerry credited Sloan with helping persuade lawmakers to loosen restrictions on transferring detainees overseas; transfers into the United States are barred.

"He's the model of someone very successful on the outside who comes into the State Department and builds relationships instead of burning bridges, gets people on board with a tough assignment, masters the interagency process, and just keeps his head down and proves the doubters dead wrong," Kerry said.

No successor has been named.

Sloan denied that frustrating Pentagon delays made him decide to quit, The New York Times reports.

"At this point we're in a position to see a lot of progress," he said. "I'm strongly in favor of moving forward as promptly as we can on the president's commitment to close the facility."

But The Times reports that Sloan's tenure was marked by White House complaints about Pentagon delays, including by former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, who resigned last month under pressure.

Many military commanders worried that released prisoners might return to fighting U.S. troops, The Times reports.

For example, The Times reports, in response to a May memo sent to Hagel by Obama's national security adviser, Susan Rice, to step up the pace, Hagel told reporters: "I'm taking my time. I owe that to the American people, to ensure that any decision I make is, in my mind, responsible."

Obama has nominated Ashton Carter, former deputy defense secretary under Leon Panetta, to succeed Hagel.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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A State Department envoy whose "skillful negotiating" helped transfer 34 detainees from Guantanamo Bay is leaving in what reportedly is a blow to President Barack Obama's push to empty the military prison.
Guantanamo, Clifford Sloan, negotiator, leaving
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2014-10-22
Monday, 22 Dec 2014 11:10 PM
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