Daniel Fried

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Ambassador Daniel Fried
Fried daniel 140.jpg
Special Envoy to Guantanamo
Born 1952 (age 62–63)
Residence Washington, D.C.
Citizenship  United States
Alma mater Cornell Univ, B.A. 1974
Columbia Univ, M.A. 1977 International Affairs
Occupation Diplomat
Employer U.S. Department of State
Term beginning March, 2009
Awards Commander's Cross with Star (2nd class) of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland "Bene Merito" Honour Badge (Poland)

Daniel Fried is a senior career diplomat of the United States who carries the rank of Ambassador. He served as a Special Envoy to facilitate the closing of the Guantanamo Bay detention camp located in Cuba until January 2013.[1][2][3][4] Fried's Guantanamo office was shut down on January 28, 2013. Previously, he was the top U.S. diplomat in Europe, and prior to that he was the U.S. Ambassador to Poland.

Education and early career[edit]

Fried received a B.A., "magna cum laude" from Cornell University in 1974. After earning a master's degree from the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University in 1977, Fried entered the Foreign Service.[5] He was employed in the Economic Bureau of the State Department from 1977 to 1979; at the U.S. Consulate General in then-Leningrad from 1980 to 1981; as Political Officer in the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade from 1982 to 1985; and in the Office of Soviet Affairs at the State Department from 1985 to 1987. Ambassador Fried was Polish Desk Officer at the State Department from 1987 to 1989 as democracy returned to Poland and Central Europe. He served as Political Counselor in the U.S. Embassy in Warsaw from 1990 to 1993. Between 1993 and 1997 he was on the staff of the National Security Council, ultimately serving as Special Assistant to President Bill Clinton. While working at the White House, Fried was active in designing U.S. policy on Euro-Atlantic security, including NATO enlargement and the Russia-NATO relationship.

Career since 2009[edit]

Fried served as Special Envoy for Closure of the Guantanamo Detainee Facility starting on May 15, 2009.[6] As Special Envoy, Fried sat on an inter-agency committee chaired by Attorney General Eric Holder that was to review the remaining captives' cases.[citation needed] His particular mandate was to persuade European countries as well as Yemen to accept for resettlement some of the more than 200 detainees.[7] Fried's position was with the U.S. Department of State and he held a rank equivalent to that of an ambassador, but it has been dubbed "Guantanamo Bay Czar" and "Guantanamo Closure Czar" by the certain media outlets [7] and by public officials such as Republican House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia [8] who oppose the closure of the detention camp.[9]

Fried's job had been described as the most difficult and thankless job in Washington, due in large part to the virtual ban by Congress on resettling the prisoners on U.S. soil.[10] However, in June 2009, Fried expressed confidence that the facility could be closed by January 23, 2010.[11] However, he conceded in November 2009 that the deadline would be pushed back.[12]

According to Michelle Shephard, writing in the Toronto Star, Fried has a staff of just four: Tony Ricci, Mike Williams, Karen Sasahara and Brock Johnson.[12] Ricci, his deputy, is a retired Colonel; Williams is a lawyer, Sasahara is another diplomat, and Johnson was an Obama campaign worker.

During a trip to Europe in September 2009, Fried described the remaining Guantanamo in this way: "Some qualify as the worst of the worst, and we are going to put those on trial... if there's such a thing as an average Guanatamo detainee, it's someone who was a volunteer, a low-level traineee or a very low-level fighter in a very bad cause, but not a hardened terrorist, not an organizer - and it is those people who we are asking Europeans to take a look at." [11] As of September 16, 2009, Hungary, France, Ireland and Portugal, Palau and Bermuda had formally agreed to take former Guantanamo detainees, and according to Fried, France, Spain, Italy and Belgium had detainees under consideration.[13]

During his tenure as the Guantanamo envoy approximately fifty captives were repatriated or sent to safe third countries.

On January 28, 2013 Charlie Savage, writing in the New York Times reported that Fried would be reassigned, and wrote that according to: "...an internal personnel announcement ... no senior official in President Obama’s second term will succeed Mr. Fried."[3][4] His duties would be added to those of the senior counsel in the State Department. Savage speculated that the termination of Fried's office was a sign that the Obama administration did not see closure of the prison as realistic.

From the time of his Senate confirmation in April 2005 [14] until early 2009, Fried served as the top U.S. diplomat responsible for Europe, with the official title Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs.[15] In that post, Fried helped build and maintain essential relationships with European nations and international organizations such as the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. From January 2001 to May 2005, Fried served in an advisory capacity to U.S. President George W. Bush as Special Assistant to President and also held a seat on the National Security Council. Between May 2000 and January 2001, Fried was Principal Deputy Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for the New Independent States. He was Ambassador to Poland from November 1997 until May 2000.

Select views[edit]

Fried opposed the recognition of the Armenian Genocide during the U. S. Congressional hearings in March 2007. He stated that the Congressional resolution "would undercut those voices emerging in Turkey who call for a truthful exploration of those events in pursuit of Turkey’s reconciliation with its own past, and with Armenia," and added, "Our fear is that passage of any such resolution would close minds and harden hearts."[16]

In mid-2008, reporter Helene Cooper of The New York Times wrote that an anonymous administration official described Fried as a foreign policy "hawk".[17] on the issue of whether the U.S. should give military aid to the nation of Georgia in its territorial dispute with Russia.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Appointment of Ambassador Daniel Fried, state.gov, 2009-03-12
  2. ^ "Daniel Fried to lead dedicated term in Guantanamo closing", 2009-03-13
  3. ^ a b Charlie Savage (2013-01-28). "State Dept. Closes Office Working on Shutting Guantánamo Prison". New York Times. Archived from the original on 2013-01-28. The State Department on Monday reassigned Daniel Fried, the special envoy for closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and will not replace him, according to an internal personnel announcement. Mr. Fried’s office is being closed, and his former responsibilities will be “assumed” by the office of the department’s legal adviser, the notice said. 
  4. ^ a b Kristin Deasy (2013-01-28). "US State Department shuts down office tasked with closing Guantanamo: Move suggests priority shift on the part of the administration". Global Post. Archived from the original on 2013-01-28. As of today, there is no longer a State Department office overseeing efforts to close the US prison at Cuba's Guantanamo Bay, and the person assigned to the task, Daniel Fried, has been given something else to do, reported The New York Times, citing an official statement. 
  5. ^ NNDB."Tracking the world","nndb.com" accessed 2009-08-09
  6. ^ "Daniel Fried". U.S. Department of State. Retrieved June 5, 2015. 
  7. ^ a b Rosenberg, Carol."Fried names as Guantanamo Closure Czar", "The State, 2009-05-13
  8. ^ Cantor, Eric "Obama's 32 Czars","washingtonpost.com", 2009-07-30
  9. ^ Cantor, Eric Cantor on Democrats' Votes to Close Guantanamo Bay, 2009-06-18
  10. ^ Crowley, Michael Prisoner's Dilemma,TheNewRepublic.com, 2009-06-17
  11. ^ a b Manel, Jon US envoy confident on Guantanamo closure, BBC.com, 2009-09-18
  12. ^ a b Michelle Shephard (2009-12-06). "How to empty Guantanamo". Toronto Star. Archived from the original on 2009-12-06. 
  13. ^ Associated Press. Hungary to Accept Guantanamo Detainee,NYTimes.com, 2009-09-16
  14. ^ Library of Congress, Presidential Nomination PN295-109, Senate Confirmation 2005-04-28
  15. ^ National Academy of Public Administration.Prunes on Line: A Guide to Presidential Appointments, accessed 2009-07-30
  16. ^ Kucera, Joshua."Bush Administration Tries To Prevent Possible Rupture With Turkey","EurasiaNet, 2007-03-16, accessed 2009-07-16
  17. ^ Cooper, Helene."U.S. Watched as a Squabble Turned Into a Showdown", The New York Times, August 18, 2008.

External links[edit]

Government offices
Preceded by
A. Elizabeth Jones
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs
May 5, 2005 – 2009
Succeeded by
Philip Gordon