State Department closes office working on shutting Guantanamo Bay prison

The State Department has closed the office working on shutting the Guantanamo Bay prison in Cuba, and a source tells Fox News this is a final acknowledgement that the Obama administration will not spend its political capital this term on closing the military prison.

The New York Times reported Monday that the department reassigned Daniel Fried, the special envoy for closing the prison, and has no plans to replace him.

The White House repeatedly has insisted it wants to keep closing Guantanamo Bay a realistic priority despite evidence to the contrary.

The news comes the same day as a Guantanamo Bay prisoner charged in the Sept. 11 attacks fired one of his military attorneys Monday in an apparent sign of frustration and distrust of his Pentagon-appointed legal counsel.

At the start of what is expected to be a four-day hearing to address pre-trial legal issues, Waleed bin Attash at first refused to speak when questioned by the judge about his desire to dismiss one of his three lawyers, Marine Corps Maj. William Hennessy. He hinted at his motivation later in an exchange with the judge about whether he wished to attend future sessions of the court, saying he did not trust his counsel.

The five defendants face charges that include nearly 3,000 counts of murder for their alleged roles in planning and aiding the Sept. 11 attacks. They could get the death penalty if convicted in a trial that is likely at least a year away.

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.