The man in charge of negotiating with foreign countries to resettle and rehabilitate Guantanamo Bay detainees is leaving his position, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry announced Monday. Clifford Sloan was the State Department’s envoy to Guantanamo Bay for the past 18 months.
Sloan will be returning to the law firm he previously worked after serving the entire length of his contract. His appointment was an essential part of President Barack Obama’s decision to transfer all Guantanamo Bay detainees and eventually shut down the facility altogether.
“I’d like to have about a hundred Cliff Sloans. He’s the real deal,” Kerry said in a statement. “Believe me, there were a lot of doubters. This wasn’t the most coveted job in Washington. A lot of people thought Cliff must not have known what he was taking on when he signed up here.”
Sloan oversaw and negotiated transfers for 34 Guantanamo Bay detainees “with more on the way,” since he was appointed in June 2013, Kerry said.
In the last six months, detainees have been sent to Qatar, Kuwait, Slovakia, Georgia and Saudi Arabia. Six detainees were recently approved for resettlement as refugees in Uruguay. Congress does not allow detainees to be transferred from the prison in Cuba to the United States, the Associated Press reported. Congressional Republicans oppose transfer to any country.
“What the Obama administration is doing is dangerous and, frankly, reckless,” Buck McKeon, the retiring chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said last month, according to the Guardian.
Earlier this month, the Senate Intelligence Committee released the results of an investigation into the Central Intelligence Agency’s "enhanced interrogation techniques" used at the prison. The report concluded that the CIA used brutal tactics such as sleep deprivation, “rectal dehydration,” mock executions and waterboarding.
Of the 779 people who were detained in Guantanamo Bay since it opened in 2002, 132 detainees remain there.