The Obama administration has asked White House Counsel Greg Craig to step down over the handling of plans to close down the U.S. military prison on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, CNN is reporting.
A senior administration official says that Craig’s ouster could take effect today, and he will be replaced with Democratic lawyer Bob Bauer. CNN reported that Craig declined to comment and hung up when reporters contacted him late Thursday evening. Bauer is the husband of Anita Dunn, the outgoing White House communications director. Dunn, who recently led a so-called "war" on Fox News, announced earlier this week that she is leaving her White House post, a long-anticipated move that was not connected to the media battle.
Craig reportedly frustrated senior White House aides over his handling of the plans to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay, CNN reports. “As the White House's top lawyer, Craig was pivotal in advising Obama to sign an executive order during his first week in office promising to shut the prison by the end of January 2010,” according to the network.
The confining deadline was “politically embarrassing” and angered many of the president's liberal supporters, according to CNN. Because of various complex legal issues that makes it nearly impossible to close the facility over the next few months, White House aides have discarded that deadline. The major sticking point is what to do with some 200 prisoners, who include terror suspects and avowed enemies of the United States.
Although Craig wasn’t the only top official to push for the stringent deadline, some administration officials say privately that he should have better anticipated the pitfalls, according to CNN. Others say that Craig is being made a scapegoat.