Tags: Guantanamo | Sloan | envoy | close

Obama Names Envoy to Close Guantanamo

Monday, 17 Jun 2013 12:59 PM

By Lisa Barron

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President Barack Obama Monday was to to appoint veteran Washington lawyer Cliff Sloan the envoy for closing the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

A partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate Meagher and Flom and an informal adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry for several years, Sloan has been chosen to reopen the State Department's Office of Guantanamo Closure, officials told The Associated Press.

The former publisher of the online magazine Slate, Sloan was an associate White House counsel in the Clinton administration and an assistant solicitor general in President George H.W. Bush's Justice Department.

Editor's Note: ObamaCare Is About to Strike Are You Prepared?

"I've known and respected Cliff Sloan for nearly 10 years. His intellect and skill as a negotiator is respected across party lines, and he's served presidents Republican and Democratic with equal skill. I appreciate his willingness to take on this challenge," Kerry said in a statement.

“Cliff and I share the president’s conviction that Guantanamo's continued operation isn’t in our security interests. In Iraq we’ve turned over prisoners, and we’ve transferred facilities to the Afghan government. Our fidelity to the rule of law likewise compels us also to end the long, uncertain detention of the detainees at Guantánamo," Kerry added.

Obama pledged in a speech last month  to renew his stalled efforts to close the prison, something he originally vowed to do during his 2008 presidential campaign. He dropped the effort in the face of obstacles imposed by Congress.

In his speech, the president lifted a ban on transferring Guantanamo detainees to Yemen and said he would name envoys at both the State Department and the Pentagon to try to overcome Congressional opposition to closing Gitmo. The Pentagon position has not yet been filled.

The administration is pushing to transfer 86 of the approved detainees, 56 of whom are from Yemen, to their home countries.

News of Sloan's appointment comes after the House on Friday passed a $638 billion defense bill that would block Obama from closing the detention facility.

Officials told The AP that Sloan, whose experience includes clerking for conservative prosecutor Kenneth Starr and liberal Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, would focus mainly on overcoming the deep partisan divide between the White House and Congress over shutting down Guantanamo.

"It will not be easy, but if anyone can effectively navigate the space between agencies and branches of government, it's Cliff," said Kerry.

Editor's Note: ObamaCare Is About to Strike Are You Prepared?


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