Woah. Phil Carter has resigned.
Phillip Carter, who was appointed deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee policy in April, said in a brief telephone interview that he was leaving for “personal and family reasons” and not because of any policy differences with the administration. He tendered his resignation Friday, Pentagon officials said.
Carter, a lawyer and Iraq war veteran, was responsible for coordinating global policy on detainees.
He has helped craft policies that will allow hundreds of prisoners held by the U.S. military in Afghanistan to challenge their indefinite detention under a new review system. Carter was also involved in the administration’s effort to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which holds 215 terrorism suspects.
His departure comes at a critical moment for the administration, which is trying to find a location in the United States to stage military tribunals and place some of the Guantanamo inmates in indefinite detention. He spoke last week at a community forum in Thomson, Ill., the site of a maximum-security state prison that the administration is seriously considering to house some detainees from Guantanamo.
(…) Carter, a critic of detention policy under President George W. Bush, filed friend-of-the-court briefs in Supreme Court cases challenging his administration’s policies, including the Hamdan v. Rumsfeld case, in which the court struck down that administration’s system of military commissions for trying Guantanamo detainees.
Carter’s decision seems to have taken DoD by surprise. I was very excited when Carter was appointed as Assistant Secretary for Detainee Affairs and I have to take him at his word that there were no policy differences that led him to resign; in fact I suspect that the entire impetus to close Gitmo and the idea for re-using the facility in Illinois were largely his own brainchild. It’s hard to imagine what differences of opinion he could possibly have with a policy he likely authored himself.
Thank you for your service, Phil. Your service in this post may have been brief, but you left a lasting legacy that will go a long way towards repairing America’s reputation as a moral beacon of the post-WWII era, and thus keeping America safer.
Related – an excellent fact-check about common misconceptions about the Thomson, IL prison and the plan to house terrorists there.