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State Dept. Requests Funds for Office to Close Gitmo

GUANTANAMO BAY, CUBA - OCTOBER 22: (EDITORS NOTE: Image has been reviewed by the U.S. Military prior to transmission.) Razor wire and a guard tower stands at a closed section of the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, also known as 'Gitmo' on October 22, 2016 at the U.S. Naval Station …
John Moore/Getty Images
EDWIN MORA

President Donald Trump’s State Department has requested $1.2 million to operate the now vacant office of the agency’s special envoy for shutting down the U.S. military prison in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, despite the commander-in-chief’s campaign promise to keep the facility running.

“The FY [fiscal year] 2018 request includes $1.2 million for salaries and operational expenses for the Special Envoy for Closure of Guantanamo Detention Facility,” a U.S. State Department official told Breitbart News on Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Breitbart News confirmed that State made the line item request intentionally despite President Trump’s campaign promise to keep the Guantánamo prison, known as Gitmo, open.

This week, the Miami Herald highlighted State’s petition to fund the special envoy called the Gitmo “closer.”

The White House did not respond to requests for comment.

The office of Secretary Tillerson did reportedly make changes to the original budget proposal.

However, the secretary left the funding request for the Gitmo closer intact.

“There was no update to the requested amount,” the State official told Breitbart News.

The State Department official suggested that the Gitmo closer would not be concerned with closing the facility.

“Currently, the immediate focus of this office is on sustaining and monitoring the assurances that govern previous transfers, key elements of the responsible disposition of the cases of former detainees,” explained the official.

According to State, the mission of the Special Envoy for Closure of Guantánamo Detention Facility office is to lead the “U.S. Government diplomatic engagement in furtherance of closing the Guantánamo Bay detention facility.”

The official told Breitbart News that State is evaluating the use of all special envoys within the department.

Currently, the State Department “is in the process of developing a comprehensive reorganization plan that will be submitted to the Office of Management and Budget this fall,” said the official.

“We want to make sure that the responsibility for an issue is appropriately placed and aligned with the resources it needs to meet its mission,” a different State official told the Miami Herald, referring the ongoing evaluation of special envoys in the department.

“The sum — and line item keeping the now vacant job of ‘The Closer’ — is contained in Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s proposed 2018 budget that seeks to reduce the overall department budget through deep cuts and attrition of career employees,” reported the newspaper.

Gitmo still holds 41 detainees, six of them awaiting death-penalty trials.

During his campaign, President Trump has vowed to send more prisoners to the facility.

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