Lewis, who teaches at Georgetown University, got his law degree from Notre Dame in 1983 and was a judge advocate in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1982 to 1987, finishing up as a captain. He also worked as an assistant district attorney in the Manhattan DAs office and as a trial attorney in the Organized Crime and Racketeering Section of the Department of Justice.
Of the 164 captives, 84 have been approved for transfer by a 2010 federal Task Force. They include a Sudanese man who on Friday won a federal judges release order on grounds hes too sick to be a threat to the United States, making him likely the next prisoner to leave Guantánamo.
Many of the captives cleared for release have been stuck at Guantánamo because of turbulence in their home countries such as Yemen and Syria and Congressional restrictions and White House unwillingness to send them to nations the administration considers risky for safe resettlement and monitoring.
Meantime, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., argued Monday that Obama should grow the prison-camp population with at least one more captive a Libyan known as Abu Anas al Libi, whom U.S. forces captured over the weekend as a suspect in the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in North Africa.
He was being interrogated on the high seas before likely transfer to New York City for trial in the same court where former Guantánamo captive Ahmed Ghailani was convicted in 2010 for his role in the embassy bombings.
I believe the most responsible course of action would be to hold him as an enemy combatant at Guantánamo Bay for intelligence gathering purposes, Graham said in a statement.
U.S. Navy ships were never intended to be confinement and interrogation facilities in the War on Terror.
The groups that wrote Obama urging action included The American Civil Liberties Union, Amnesty International USA, the Center for the Victims of Torture, Council on American-Islamic Relations, Human Rights Watch, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Presbyterian Church USA and Physicians for Human Rights.
The letter to Obama claimed that the Pentagon vacancies have delayed decisions and actions needed to reduce the population at Guantánamo by transferring cleared detainees to foreign countries that will respect their human rights.
Zeke Johnson of Amnesty International argued Monday that cleared detainees can be transferred under current law. He called closure one of Obamas signature promises and his legacy is on the line. The president should direct his administration to move Guantánamo to the front burner, stand up to Congress fear-mongering and get the job done.
A former Guantánamo point man for the Bush administration, Cully Stimson, described Lewis as an excellent choice
He is smart, saavy, and knows the law and policies in this area, said Stimson who is currently director of the National Security program at the Heritage Foundation. He has a very tough job, and one which will succeed or fail based solely on whether the president is finally willing to spend real political capital to get the job done.