The miserable job of Obama’s Gitmo envoy

By all accounts, former Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried is a very talented diplomat, but as Obama’s “Gitmo czar,” he’s been given one thankless task. Despite some successes — Hungary this week joined the ranks of Bermuda and Palau in agreeing to take in detainees — he tells the BBC that progress has been ...

By , a former associate editor at Foreign Policy.
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Pristina, SERBIA: US Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried is pictured during a joint press conference, 09 July 2007, after his meeting with Kosovo President Fatmir Sejdiu (out of camera range) in Kosovo's capital Pristina. Kosovo, which lies between Serbia, Macedonia and Albania in southeast Europe, has been run by a UN mission since NATO's bombing campaign to stop "ethnic cleansing" of Albanians by Serbian forces in 1999. AFP PHOTO / ERMAL META (Photo credit should read Ermal Meta/AFP/Getty Images)

By all accounts, former Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried is a very talented diplomat, but as Obama's "Gitmo czar," he's been given one thankless task. Despite some successes -- Hungary this week joined the ranks of Bermuda and Palau in agreeing to take in detainees -- he tells the BBC that progress has been infuriatingly slow:

He says his job is miserable because he is "cleaning up a problem".

By all accounts, former Assistant Secretary of State Daniel Fried is a very talented diplomat, but as Obama’s “Gitmo czar,” he’s been given one thankless task. Despite some successes — Hungary this week joined the ranks of Bermuda and Palau in agreeing to take in detainees — he tells the BBC that progress has been infuriatingly slow:

He says his job is miserable because he is “cleaning up a problem”.

He also revealed he was reprimanded by the UK over his decision to send four detainees to Bermuda.[…]

Working out what to do with the remaining detainees is “a huge problem and a complicated one,” says Mr Fried.

So far, the number being held there has been reduced by just 16 – and one of those committed suicide. There are now 226 left.

At this rate, Fried’s job should be done around 2018. No wonder he’s pushing for the U.S. to take some of the detainees in.

Hat tip: UN Dispatch

Ermal Meta/AFP/Getty Images

Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating

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