Charles Stimson

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Charles Stimson
General Counsel of the Navy
President Donald Trump
Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs
In office
2005 – February 2, 2007
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Matthew Waxman
Succeeded by Sandra Hodgkinson
Personal details
Education Kenyon College
George Mason University School of Law

Charles Douglas "Cully" Stimson (born June 13, 1963) is an American lawyer and government official. Stimson served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs from 2005 until his resignation on February 2, 2007, following a controversy about his statements on legal representation for prisoners at Guantánamo Bay.[1][2] Following his time in the George W. Bush administration, Stimson joined The Heritage Foundation, where he is currently a senior legal fellow and manager of the National Security Law Program. Earlier in his career, Stimson served as an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of Columbia and as Vice President for Private Equity Mergers & Acquisitions at Marsh & McLennan Companies.

Stimson is a Captain in the Judge Advocate General's Corps U.S. Navy reserve component and is the Commanding Officer of the Navy Appellate Government unit. In June 2017, President Donald Trump nominated Stimson to become General Counsel of the Navy.[3]

Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Detainee Affairs[edit]

The Pentagon created the Office of Detainee Affairs, and with it Stimson's post, in July 2004:[4][5]

An as-yet-unnamed deputy assistant secretary who will report to the undersecretary for policy will head the office. The new deputy will chair a joint committee composed of the undersecretary for intelligence and representatives from the Joint Staff, the Office of General Counsel, the Department of the Army, and others who might be involved in detainee affairs.

Stimson, an attorney by profession, was formerly a U.S. Navy JAG officer from 1992-1997.[6]

Guantanamo Bay detention camp[edit]

Stimson first received press attention in October 2006, when he told Reuters that more than 300 Guantánamo detainees might remain there for the rest of their lives because nations refused to accept them.[7]

In January 2007, he made comments concerning the legal representation of Guantánamo detainees stating that "corporate CEOs seeing this should ask firms to choose between lucrative retainers and representing terrorists."[8] The Pentagon later issued a statement that Stimson's comments were not representative of Pentagon policy.[9][10]

On January 17, 2007, Stimson wrote a letter of apology, published in the Washington Post.[11][12][13] His apology was criticized by the New York Times in an editorial, for the appearance of insincerity.[14] In 2017, Stimson said his comments made one decade ago were a mistake that do not represent his professional views: "I made a boneheaded statement, quite frankly it was an emotional response generated by my loss of my 295 colleagues who...were killed on 9/11 at the World Trade Center."[15]


On February 2, 2007, a Department of Defense spokesman announced that Stimson had decided to resign because the controversy had "hampered his ability to be effective in" his office. Stimson said that the Secretary of Defense, Robert Gates, had not asked him to resign.[16]

Heritage Foundation[edit]

Stimson is currently a senior legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation and an instructor at the Naval Justice School in Newport, Rhode Island.[17] In September 2010 he authored a report entitled "Just Say No" asserting that California's proposed Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010 would "worsen the state’s drug problems— addiction, violence, disorder, and death".[18] Stimson continues to write on detainee issues.[19]

Personal life[edit]

Stimson is chairman of the board of directors for the U.S. Soccer Foundation.[20]


  1. ^ Associated Press (2007-02-02). "Official Resigns Over Gitmo Lawyer Remarks". CBS News. Retrieved 2007-03-31. 
  2. ^ "Pentagon Official Who Criticized Detainee Lawyers Quits". Washington Post. 2007-02-03. Retrieved 2007-03-31. 
  3. ^ "President Donald J. Trump Announces Intent to Nominate Personnel to Key Administration Posts". The White House. June 5, 2017. Retrieved 26 July 2017.  This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ Quigley, Samantha (2004-07-04). "DoD Creates Office of Detainee Affairs". DefenseLINK News. Archived from the original on 2007-01-16. Retrieved 2007-01-17. 
  5. ^ Porth, Jacqueline S. (2004-07-16). "Pentagon Creates New Policy Office to Review Detainee Issues". U.S. Department of State USINFO. Archived from the original on 2007-04-12. Retrieved 2007-03-31. 
  6. ^ "Eye of the Storm". Kenyon College Alumni Bulletin. Archived from the original on 2007-12-28. Retrieved 2008-02-10. 
  7. ^ Schulman, Leslie (2006-10-29). "DOD official says some Guantanamo detainees may be imprisoned for life". JURIST. Archived from the original on 2008-09-18. Retrieved 2007-01-17. 
  8. ^ Lewis, Neil (2007-01-13). "Official attacks top law firms over detainees". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-01-17. 
  9. ^ Heilprin, John (2007-01-13). "Pentagon disavows comment on detainees". Newsvine. Retrieved 2007-01-17. 
  10. ^ Mary Pat Gallagher (January 18, 2007). "Bush Official Apologizes for Slap at Guantanamo Detainees' Lawyers". New Jersey Law Journal. Retrieved 2008-01-19. 
  11. ^ Charles Stimson (January 17, 2007). "An Apology to Detainees' Attorneys". Washington Post. Retrieved 2007-06-28. 
  12. ^ Sarah Abruzzes (February 3, 2007). "Official Quits After Remark on Lawyers". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-02-22. Mr. Stimson, a former Navy defense lawyer, wrote an apology published in The Washington Post, saying the remarks did not reflect his “core beliefs.” 
  13. ^ "Pentagon Official Apologizes for Remarks". New York Times. 2007-01-17. [dead link]
  14. ^ "Apology Not Accepted". New York Times. January 19, 2007. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 
  15. ^ Tritten, Travis (July 12, 2017). "Trump Pentagon nominee Charles Stimson: I made 'boneheaded' mistake in Guantanamo Bay controversy". Washington Examiner. Retrieved 26 July 2017. 
  16. ^ Jelinek, Pauline (2007-02-02). "Defense Official Resigns Over Remarks". San Francisco Chronicle. 
  17. ^ "Charles Stimson: Senior Legal Fellow". Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 2008-02-22. He is currently a Senior Instructor at the Naval Justice School in Newport, R.I., where he teaches active duty JAGS. 
  18. ^ Charles Stimson, "Legalizing Marijuana: Why Citizens Should Just Say No", Heritage Foundation Legal Memorandum, 13 September 2010
  19. ^ Charles Stimson (2011-10-17). "Common-Sense Principles for Detainee Policy". The Heritage Foundation. Archived from the original on 2011-10-20. Retrieved 2011-10-20. 
  20. ^ "U.S. Soccer Foundation adds Nathanson, Slaton to Board of Directors". Soccer Wire. January 19, 2017. Retrieved 26 July 2017. 

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