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Defense Secretary Remains Stumbling Block to Guantanamo Releases

“The White House wants to quickly cut the number of detainees at Guantánamo Bay. One man is standing in the way: President Obama’s Defense Secretary, Ash Carter,” according to The Daily Beast .  

“The White House believes that Carter is unwilling to be accountable for the transfer of Guantánamo detainees and their conduct post-release, even to the point of defying the president’s policy on the detention facility… Carter’s signature is needed for the release of 52 of the 116 detainees cleared for leaving the detention facility by several government agencies that have reviewed their files.”  

“There’s even speculation that if the president follows through on his threat to veto the defense budget bill to win changes on detainee policy, he will ask that the law be amended so that the president, not the defense secretary, has the final say on detainee transfers… Tensions between the Pentagon and the White House over this issue are a familiar story to administration observers. One reason many believe former Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was forced from office was his unwillingness to sign off on the release of detainees at the pace the administration wanted.”

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