Obama taps Clifford Sloan to lead Guantánamo closure

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In his statement, Kerry acknowledged that closing Guantánamo "will not be easy, but if anyone can effectively navigate the space between agencies and branches of government, it’s Cliff."

"He's someone respected by people as ideologically different as Kenneth Starr and Justice Stevens, and that's the kind of bridge-builder we need to finish this job.”

During his speech last month on national security, President Obama announced envoys from the State Department and Pentagon to oversee detainee transfers back to Yemen. He also announced a lifting of the moratorium on detainee transfer to Yemen, and stressed that a recent hunger strike illustrated that the continued status quo at Guantánamo was problematic.

"Given my administration’s relentless pursuit of al Qaeda’s leadership, there is no justification beyond politics for Congress to prevent us from closing a facility that should never have been opened," Obama said.

On Friday, the House passed a $638 defense bill that would again block the president from closing the Guantánamo facility, despite a veto threat from the White House.