It’s Official: Daniel Fried, Special Envoy for Gitmo Closure

I guess can’t really say “officially in” since he is a career diplomat and is already in. The State Department announced today the appointment of Ambassador Daniel Fried. Statement in full below:

In order to carry out President Obama’s commitment to close the detention facility at Guantanamo within one year, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has determined we need to intensify our efforts to facilitate the transfer of detainees. Secretary Clinton therefore has asked Ambassador Daniel Fried, a seasoned diplomat with a strong record of accomplishment, to lead a dedicated team to address this issue full-time. Ambassador Fried’s extensive experience will be an invaluable asset as we seek the assistance of foreign governments in moving toward closure of the detention facility.

Over the last several years, the task of negotiating transfers of detainees from Guantanamo has fallen to the Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues and his staff, whose primary function historically has been war crimes matters – a full-time job. This shift provides the benefit of also ensuring that the Ambassador at Large and his team can devote their full attention to war crime matters, which are of critical importance to this Administration.

I’m not sure what his official title is, the announcement did not actually give that, but he will reportedly be working with officials from the Pentagon and Justice Department as well as foreign governments on the specifics of closing the camp. He also will work with the State Department’s ambassador-at-large for war crimes, Clint Williamson, who has been leading negotiations on detainee transfers, the officials said.

Until this appointment, Ambassador Fried has been the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (05/05/2005 to 03/12/2009). Before taking the helm of the EUR Bureau, Ambassador Fried served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for European and Eurasian Affairs at the National Security Council since January 22, 2001. He was Principal Deputy Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for the New Independent States from May 2000 until January 2001. He was Ambassador to Poland from November 1997 until May 2000.

Daniel Fried, of Washington, DC, began his career with the Foreign Service in 1977. He served in the Economic Bureau of the State Department from 1977 to 1979; at the U.S. Consulate General in then-Leningrad from 1980 to 1981; as Political Officer in the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade from 1982 to 1985; and in the Office of Soviet Affairs at the State Department from 1985 to 1987. Ambassador Fried was Polish Desk Officer at the State Department from 1987 to 1989 as democracy returned to Poland and Central Europe. He served as Political Counselor in the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw from 1990 to 1993.

At least there won’t be any house cleaning this time around?