Charlie Savage, at the NYTimes:
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Monday is expected to name Cliff Sloan, a Washington lawyer and confidant of Secretary of State John Kerry, as the new diplomatic envoy for the shutdown of the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, an official said on Sunday…
The new appointment was first reported by The Associated Press on Sunday. An administration official confirmed the move, and the State Department circulated a statement by Mr. Kerry praising Mr. Sloan, whom he was said to have recommended.
“I appreciate his willingness to take on this challenge,” Mr. Kerry said. “Cliff and I share the president’s conviction that Guantánamo’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.” …
The larger questions now are what to do with low-level prisoners who are from countries with troubled security conditions, like Yemen. Of the 166 remaining detainees, 86 have long since been cleared for transfer if security conditions can be met; 56 of them are Yemenis. As part of his speech last month, Mr. Obama lifted an executive branch moratorium on transfers to Yemen.
Mr. Obama also pledged to name a new “envoy” in the Pentagon to handle Guantánamo transfer issues, apparently removing that authority from William K. Lietzau, the Defense Department’s top official for detainee policy. No one has yet been designated for that role….
More at the link. From what I can gather, Mr. Sloan doesn’t seem the type to take a purely ornamental job just to add another line to his CV, so this is progress, yes?
Anybody know whether this particular slot requires Congressional approval?
meanwhile, Congress voted Friday to stop obummer from closing GITMO and from allowing him to release anyone to Yemen.
but I’m sure, somehow, it’s obummer’s fault.
James Clapper, NSA Director Keith Alexander, the former chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), and the deputy director of the FBI held a classified briefing for members of the Senate on Thursday afternoon.
Only 47 of 100 senators attended.
Then they scream “why wasn’t I informed about this important issue”.
47%? Bunch of “Takers(Trademark Pending, WM Romney)”. I’m sure the other 53% had “Other Priorities”, like catching the next plane out of National for a fundraiser back home.
In all likelihood it is by now too ingrained, but wish the media would stop referring to them as “detainees,” as if they were temporarily held up at a DUI roadblock, and call the vast bulk of them what they are: (a) cleared and unreleased, (b) improperly in custody, or (c) uncharged, prisoners.
It’s a prison camp, not a detainee camp.
@David Koch: meanwhile, Congress voted Friday to stop obummer from closing GITMO and from allowing him to release anyone to Yemen. but I’m sure, somehow, it’s obummer’s fault.
That’s not his fault. That’s their fault. He does, however, have a veto pen, which he should use more often. (And I don’t mean threaten to veto, I mean veto: ‘I’m not signing that piece of shit.’ No, a signing statement doesn’t cut it.) He can start with the farm bill.
James Clapper, NSA Director Keith Alexander, the former chief judge of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC), and the deputy director of the FBI held a classified briefing for members of the Senate on Thursday afternoon. Then they scream “why wasn’t I informed about this important issue”.
Quite. Congress doesn’t care, and even if they did, they wouldn’t get told anything that would upset their tummies. (And what upsets their tummies is truly a bizarre collection of random shit.) Welcome to our shitty fucking government.
[‘If you see a hand without an arm attached and tattooed ‘Property of USG’ crawling across the floor towards you, I suggest you hit with a hammer. Repeatedly.’]
We really oughta give some of these guys truckloads of money and let them spend the rest of their lives on the beach.
This is a serious question. What would happen if the President and his executive decided to release the prisoners cleared for same?
@Max, the Orwellian double speak is very frustrating, isn’t it?
@Debbie(aussie): supposedly they can’t as Congress has refused to allocate funds to relocate them
If State can thread the needle with Iran and North Korea to move progressively forward in relations, John Kerry will be looking pretty good for a run in 2016.
Who says we have to relocate them? Walk them up to the gate and hand them over to Cuban authorities. Let Raoul sort it out.
Either that or hand them over to the custody of their lawyers. The lawyers can raise private funds to relocate them. It is all a huge embarrassment and blow to US prestige, but that damage is done already. Make the GOP watch the results of their craziness.
That is one of the horns of the dilemma.
Release them to where?
Many, many possible locations will not accept anyone anymore until the U.S. does so. And, those eligible for release do, rightfully, have a say over where they might end up.
@NotMax: How about taking them to the “Fatal Shore”?
Brother Machine Gun of Desirable Mindfulness (fka AWS)
Man, there are some sadistic fuckers in the House.
The Red Pen
Warren Zevon never gets old.
I guess that’s a start. Maybe one day they’ll formally recognize that “Guantánamo’s continued operation” isn’t in our basic human rights interests, either.
They’re crazy, so watching it won’t matter.
Soonergrunt (nexus 7)
@max: so he should de-authorize the existence of the entire US military over that point?
Because that would be the effect of vetoing the National Defense Authorization Act. Under the US Constitution, the military automatically ceases to exist as a legal entity every two years and has to be re-authorized. That’s why it’s frequently referred to as “must-pass legislation.”
Why not Extraordinary Rendition them outta there? And use the same dark budget to do it, then claim “national security” if anyone asks.
Belafon (formerly anonevent)
@Soonergrunt (nexus 7): I don’t think most people realize that’s what the Constitution says about the military, except for the Navy, of course.
Tone in DC
Maybe the Canadians can help, with their example.
@Soonergrunt (nexus 7): Yes, actually he should. Congress can override it and if they can’t, they can pass a bill without the offensive platform in it.
The MIC is a big boy and is more than capable of figuring out where the votes come from.
No supposedly to it – within the military, you cannot so much as move a can of beans from the pantry to a plate w/o allocations. These degenerates in the House know that, and they are using it to their advantage. NO President is going to deauthorize the entire military (which is EXACTLY what he would have to do) by vetoing the NDAA. There is no unilateral power in the Executive to bypass this short of taking a clearly illegal action which the wingers (and a good chunk of the left) would use to achieve their wet dream of taking this President down.
Want it closed? Quit sending cowards to the House of Representatives. Full stop.
On Friday, the House GOP blocked a vote on closing GITMO.
The envoy is a good idea.
The Bush admin didn’t have proper paperwork on some of those being held at GITMO. That really adds to the mess.
Sorry, folks, you’re mistaken. “Shutdown” means “continue operating indefinitely.”