Departure of Special Envoy for Guantanamo Closure Cliff Sloan

Press Statement
John Kerry
Secretary of State
Washington, DC
December 22, 2014

I’d like to have about a hundred Cliff Sloans. He’s the real deal. He’s the model of someone very successful on the outside who comes in to the State Department and builds relationships instead of burning bridges, gets people on board with a tough assignment, masters the inter-agency process, and just keeps his head down and proves the doubters dead wrong.

Believe me, there were a lot of doubters. This wasn’t the most coveted job in Washington. A lot of people thought Cliff must not have known what he was taking on when he signed up here. This is a low-risk city, and Cliff was taking a risk. He was convinced that we were dead serious about mounting a major effort, and he was right.

This is a guy who could’ve gone anywhere, but he chose this tough portfolio. That says a lot about his character and commitment.

Now the results are clear. We’ve made huge progress thanks in large measure to Cliff. This guy promised me 18 months, and he delivered maximum effort for each of those 18 months. Cliff was very skillful negotiating with our foreign partners and allies, and it’s a big part of why we moved thirty-four detainees on his watch, with more on the way. Cliff also played a major role in our successful efforts to reform the Congressional restrictions on foreign transfers, and in launching the new Periodic Review Board process.

I just can’t say enough good things about him. I’m convinced that there’s a finish line in sight now because of the strides we made in 2014 especially, and Cliff’s a big part of that progress.