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Guantanamo remarks cost policy chief his job

Story Highlights

• Deputy defense secretary for detainee policy resigns
• Charles "Cully" Stimson made controversial comments last month
• Stimson said companies should boycott law firms defending detainees
• Legal community outraged at remarks on radio show
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Pentagon's man in charge of handling the department's policy on detainees from the war on terrorism has resigned, Defense Department officials said Friday.

Charles "Cully" Stimson resigned Thursday after making controversial remarks last month about law firms that represent terrorism suspects held by the U.S. military, Pentagon officials said.

Stimson, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for detainee affairs, submitted his resignation to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who accepted it, the officials said.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said Stimson resigned because "the controversy surrounding him ... was hampering his ability to be effective in his current position."

Last month during a radio interview, Stimson said major U.S. corporations should not do business with top law firms that are defending terrorist suspects held in the U.S. detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

During the interview, he also listed more than a dozen law firms that he thought should be boycotted.

"When corporate CEOs see that those firms are representing the very terrorists who hit their bottom line back in 2001, those CEOs are going to make those law firms choose between representing terrorists or representing reputable firms," Stimson said on a Washington radio station, Federal News Radio, on January 11.

The legal community denounced Stimson's comments.

Defense Department officials immediately distanced themselves from Stimson, saying his comments did not reflect those of the Bush administration.

In a letter to the editor published in the Washington Post a week later, he said, "I zealously represented unpopular clients. ... I believe that our justice system requires vigorous representation. ... I apologize for what I said, those comments do not reflect my core beliefs."

Stimson, a former prosecutor and defense attorney, took the job in January 2006 and had been responsible for strengthening the department's relationships with nongovernmental organizations, especially with the International Committee of the Red Cross, Whitman said.

Charles "Cully" Stimson, shown in September 2006, has resigned from the Defense Department.



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