The announcement in the WaPo that Phil Carter had resigned his post as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Detainee Affairs was bleak enough. That article attributes Carter’s departure to “family reasons.”

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.

But Carol Rosenberg–whose coverage of Gitmo is far and away the best–seems to suggest there’s more going on.

He quit without explanation just days after Obama confirmed in an interview with Fox News in Beijing that his administration would miss its Jan. 22 Guantánamo closure deadline.

The development apparently took the Department of Defense by surprise.


A Defense Department source said Carter, an attorney with a 2004 law degree from UCLA, had already stopped reporting to work by the time the Pentagon confirmed his resignation — and that his last field trip was not abroad but to Thomson, Ill.

She goes onto suggest that Carter may not have gotten along with the Cheney dead-enders in the Pentagon.

So Carter heads off to Thomson, IL at just about precisely the time Obama was announcing that Gitmo would not be closed any time soon (and, it should be said, in the wake of Greg Craig’s resignation, apparently for Gitmo-related reasons). And then he quits suddenly, apparently without notice.

That may well be the “family reasons” the WaPo suggests. But it appears that the folks closest to Gitmo suspect something else is going on.

Update: Glenn Greenwald catalogs the views Carter has espoused that have been rejected by the Obama Administration.



Marcy Wheeler aka Emptywheel is an American journalist whose reporting specializes in security and civil liberties.