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.
The announcement came as Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other Guantánamo Bay detainees facing death penalty charges before a military tribunal over the Sept. 11 attacks made their first public appearance since October on Monday, sitting quietly in a high-security courtroom at the naval base in Cuba as pretrial hearings resumed. A closed-circuit feed of the proceedings was shown at Fort Meade.
Mr. Mohammed, with a red-dyed beard and a turban, wore a camouflage jacket over white garb. All five detainees spoke briefly in telling the judge, Col. James Pohl of the Army, that they understood their right not to attend future days of the hearing. Only one detainee, Walid bin Attash, spoke further, complaining through an interpreter that the defendants were not motivated to attend because “the prosecution does not want us to hear or understand or say anything.”
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