Broken Promises: Obama Closes Guantanamo Closing Office

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Remember when President Obama was campaigning on closing the Guantanamo Bay detention facility?

Well, he’s finally gotten around to closing something related to Gitmo:

The State Department on Monday reassigned Daniel Fried, the special envoy for closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and will not replace him, according to an internal personnel announcement. Mr. Fried’s office is being closed, and his former responsibilities will be “assumed” by the office of the department’s legal adviser, the notice said.

The announcement that no senior official in President Obama’s second term will succeed Mr. Fried in working primarily on diplomatic issues pertaining to repatriating or resettling detainees appeared to signal that the administration does not currently see the closing of the prison as a realistic priority, despite repeated statements that it still intends to do so.

Mr. Fried will become the department’s coordinator for sanctions policy and will work on issues including Iran and Syria.

So what happened? Maybe the reality of Guantanamo Bay and who is detained there set in. America got beat up, a lot, over Gitmo. Our international neighbors were quick to condemn us for it. What they weren’t so quick to do is accept back within the borders the dangerous terrorists we’re holding there. And not only that, but when President Obama started exploring options to move the detainees to a prison inside the United States allowing him to close down Gitmo in name if not in spirit he faced bi-partisan opposition from Democrat and Republican members of Congress, none of whom wanted to sign off on moving a bunch of terrorists into their back yard.

So Gitmo remains open, because while there are plenty of people who will condemn the detention facility, there aren’t a lot of people willing to be part of the solution for closing it.

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Rob Port is the editor of SayAnythingBlog.com. In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters. He writes a weekly column for several North Dakota newspapers, and also serves as a policy fellow for the North Dakota Policy Council.

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