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The PJ Tatler

by
Bridget Johnson

Bio

June 17, 2013 - 1:06 pm

Secretary of State John Kerry appointed the former publisher of Slate magazine as Gitmo czar — a special envoy position meant to guide President Obama’s goal, renewed after extensive lobbying pressure, of closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay.

Cliff Sloan was a former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens and associate counsel in the Clinton White House before moving on to Washingtonpost.Newsweek Interactive as vice president of business development and general counsel. He helmed Slate after it was acquired by the Washington Post in 2005.

Sloan is a partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in D.C. with a focus on litigation, intellectual property, media, and entertainment. He has made six arguments before the Supreme Court, including in a copyright infringement lawsuit as lead counsel for Bon Jovi.

“Special Envoy Sloan brings a wealth of experience as an accomplished litigator, and pragmatic problem solver, a skill set that will prove valuable as he serves as the lead negotiator for the transfer of Guantanamo detainees abroad, and manages a multitude of diplomatic issues related to the president’s directives to close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility, implement transfer determinations, and conduct a periodic review of those detainees who are not approved for transfer,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said at today’s briefing.

“…This just shows a renewed focus on this effort, and renewed commitment to delivering on the president’s directive.”

Sloan was a member of Obama’s transition team in 2008 on the Technology, Innovation & Government Reform Policy Working Groups. He has donated to the campaigns of Obama, Sen. Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.). Members of his firm donated heavily to Obama’s inaugural.

Psaki wouldn’t commit to a timeline on the closure Obama promised long ago.

“But I can tell you that, clearly, when the president of the United States talks about something in his speech, when we’ve taken follow-up steps like appointing this official to work here at the State Department, this is something we are committed to. And we will be driving, moving forward,” said the president’s former campaign spokeswoman, now at Kerry’s side.

“He’s just starting, so I don’t want to get too ahead of what he can already accomplish, you know, within — within just a few — I guess he started today, I believe. I’ll check on that for all of you,” Psaki said when asked whether Sloan have had contact with the Yemenis about transfers. “You know that the reason that we made the decision we did on Yemen was that, of course, the — its circumstances had changed on the ground from when we had put the moratorium in place to begin with. But I don’t have any updates on forward-looking action. Of course, that will be a part of his interesting portfolio moving forward.”

“Mr. Sloan and the work he’ll do, we’re very hopeful about his success in the months ahead,” she added. “…Given, you know, Mr. Sloan’s background as somebody who has been a successful litigator, has been a negotiator; he’s argued before the Supreme Court; he’s worked closely with Congress and a number of the key players here, we felt — the secretary felt and the president certainly supported our efforts to name a high-level official like this to lead the charge moving forward.”

Bridget Johnson is a career journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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All Comments   (6)
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Oh goody, goody. And the number two person at the CIA will be some dipstickette named "Avril" who used to read erotic passages out loud to strangers. And some "novelist" is a security advisor at the WH? We are definitely in the best of hands. When does Kim Kardashian get a cabinet post?
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
How about if we just take all the Gitmo inhabitants directly back to the exact coordinates where they were found. After alerting the local authorities, of course.

If I were president, I'd have done it the first day. Just loaded them all up and delivered them to the countries where they were found.

According to a Rolling Stone magazine article, the inmates of Abu Garib prison begged the Americans to take them to prisons anywhere else rather than face what the Iraqis were going to do to them. The article further stated that she could hear screams from what she guessed was torture from the section of the prison that the current Iraqi staff wouldn't let her see.

Saint Palin is right: let allah sort it all out.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Double BINGO!!

Both for b-s ans corporate b-s versions.

Good g-d what a pants load.....
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
I thought Obama was President? Why does he need a "czar" to do his job for him?
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Yet another lawyer being put in charge of something in this administration. It will be another failure.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
Worse. He's a lawyer/JOURNALIST. That's like the perfect storm for policy calamity, isn't it?
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
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