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Craig Out, Gitmo Retreat Coming

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Greg Craig, White House Counsel, has tendered his resignation (PDF file), in what The Washington Post calls the administration’s highest level shake up:

The departure comes after months of dissatisfaction over Craig’s management of Guantanamo policy and other matters and less than a month after officials said Craig was no longer guiding the effort to close the prison. His departure represents the highest-level White House shake-up to date.

Craig is a respected attorney who became more prominent for his defense work for President Clinton. The Washington Post story credits him with being one of the first Clinton administration insiders to support the campaign of then-Senator Barack Obama. Criag wrote a scathing editorial criticizing candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton’s foreign policy credentials and, as The Washington Post reports, sought a foreign policy position in the new administration.

Craig is credited with influencing President Obama’s hurried executive order promising closure of the Guantanamo detainee facility in Cuba. It was a move he felt had broad support:

I thought there was, in fact, and I may have been wrong, a broad consensus about the importance to our national security objectives to close Guantanamo and how keeping Guantanamo open actually did damage to our national security objectives.

Both major candidates had promised to close Gitmo, so Craig’s assessment is understandable. What the new administration found out is that bold strokes stand out, and actually doing things is harder than talking about them:

White House officials have conceded they will not make the January closure deadline that Craig helped Obama settle on and are at a loss as to where to house a number of hard cases who cannot be transferred to foreign countries or tried in U.S. or military courts.

Cross-posted to FrankHagan.com