THE PLANK NOVEMBER 13, 2009
ABC's Tapper on the White House counsel's departure:
"There is a firm belief from the President on down that Greg is taking more blame than he deserves for Gitmo," a senior administration official told ABC News. "This was a decision made by the President and supported by many officials."
This seems eminently fair to me. The common explanation for Craig's exit is that the Gitmo closure process has been a hash--we can't find new homes for all the detainees, the politics of moving them to the U.S. blew up, and it looks like Obama won't make his self-imposed one-year deadline to close the detention camp. (Things got "outside of regular order," as the NSC's Denis McDonough put it to me this summer, though without mentioning Craig.) But little or none of this is Craig's fault. Obama had to know how tough it would be to relocate more than 200 suspected terrorists within a year. And while someone presumably could have better prepped Capitol Hill for the possibility of detainees coming to America, congressional outreach wouldn't seem to be Craig's job. The fact is that if closing Guantanamo were easy, it would have been done a couple of years ago. Even George W. Bush came to see what a liability it was.