Under pressure to demonstrate a renewed commitment to shutter the prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, President Obama has tapped a high-powered Washington attorney as one of two special envoys dedicated to brokering a deal to close the facility.
Obama chose Clifford Sloan, an attorney with extensive experience in all three branches of government, to reopen the State Department’s Office of Guantanamo Closure, which has been in limbo and effectively shuttered since the administration gave up attempts to close the prison in the face of ardent opposition in Congress, according to an Associated Press report. A formal announcement is expected Monday.
Sloan, a partner at Skadden Arps, Slate, Meagher and Flom LLP law firm, has served in Democratic and Republican administrations. Most recently, he was an informal adviser to Secretary of State John Kerry, who recommended him for the post.
“I appreciate his willingness to take on this challenge,” Kerry told the AP. “Cliff and I share the president’s conviction that Guantanamo’s continued operation isn’t in our security interests.”
The president promised to name two special envoys — one at the State Department and another at the Pentagon — to restart negotiations on closing Guantanamo Bay during a major foreign policy speech at the National Defense University in May.
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