Clifford Sloan from the State Department has announced his resignation.
Sloan was the envoy within the state department responsible for negotiating the transfers of prisoners from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and his resignation from the post comes as a surprise to many, especially considering recent high profile releases from the prison.
Only this week four Afghan prisoners were released from Guantanamo Bay wi9th President Obama following this with a promise to try and close the facility as soon as possible.
With Sloan stepping down, many are questioning the mood in the White House regarding the situation with the controversial prison facility.
According to Reuters, Sloan assumed the post in July 2013 and the State Department said he was stepping down and returning to his Washington law practice after finishing an 18-month commitment.
A senior U.S. official said another factor in Sloan’s decision was that the Pentagon “certainly hasn’t been as helpful as they could have been” in speeding up the process of sending prisoners home or resettling them in other countries.
For many Sloan was seen as an excellent negotiator and key to securing the transfer of some 34 detainees from Guantanamo Bay while in the position.
According to Reuters, Sloan’s resignation, which takes effect Dec. 31, is not likely to affect transfers already in the pipeline, but it remains to be seen what kind of impact it will have beyond that.
Sloan forged agreements that led to the repatriation of four Afghans last weekend and the resettlement of six prisoners in Uruguay in mid-December, but both deals faced delays at the Pentagon, which by law must give final approval.
A report by Reuters went on to say that differences over the pace of transfers, the U.S. official said, added to friction between Hagel and Obama’s inner circle that culminated in the defense secretary’s resignation last month.
President Obama has not yet decided on a replacement for Sloan.