President Obama promised to shut down the Guantánamo Bay Detention Facility during his first presidential campaign. But five years later, the controversial prison remains open. The Obama administration finally shut down something today, but the move will only frustrate civil libertarians even more. Because with Guantánamo's closure still indefinitely delayed, the office responsible for closing the prison has itself been closed. The New York Times's Charlie Savage reports that Daniel Fried—the State Department's the special envoy for closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba—has been reassigned and will not be replaced. The news comes on the same day that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed and four other Guantánamo detainees began another round of pre-trial hearings for the attacks of September 11, 2001, a case that will surely reignite a fierce debate about the role of due process, torture, and oversees detention facilities. The Obama administration's latest seeming deferral adds yet another entry to the long timeline of failed attempts to shut down Gitmo.
June 24, 2007: The Associated Press's Elizabeth White reports on a speech by Presidential hopeful Barack Obama, then a junior Illinois Senator, to a crowd in Texas. "We're going to close Guantanamo. And we're going to restore habeas corpus," Obama says. "We're going to lead by example—not just by word but by deed. That's our vision for the future."