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Why SOUTHCOM says it fired admiral who ran the Guantanamo Bay detention center

Rear Adm. John C. Ring lost his job helming Joint Task Force-Guantanamo in Cuba because he “mishandled or directed the mishandling of classified information, made inaccurate reports, and created a poor command climate,” according to a statement released Thursday by U.S. Southern Command.

Adm. Craig Faller, SOUTHCOM’s commander, fired Ring on April 27, 43 days after launching a probe into allegations lodged against him, the release stated.

“We expect our commanders to uphold the highest standards,” Faller said in the release. “When senior leaders do not demonstrate the sound judgement of their rank and position, we must hold them accountable.”

Faller’s release pushed back at perceptions that Ring was removed because of "statements he made to the media during his tenure.”

Ring was relieved of duty on the same day the New York Times published a story where he questioned the Pentagon’s plans to provide long-term medical care for the aging terrorism suspects housed at the base’s detention center since it opened in 2002.

The piece reported that commanders there had been ordered to draft plans to keep the site operating for another 25 years.

“Unless America’s policy changes, at some point we’ll be doing some sort of end of life care here,” Ring was quoted as saying.

"A lot of my guys are prediabetic,” he said. “Am I going to need dialysis down here? I don’t know. Someone’s got to tell me that. Are we going to do complex cancer care down here? I don’t know. Someone’s got to tell me that.”

SOUTHCOM’s release failed to include a copy of the probe that allegedly triggered Ring’s firing. Ring had been in charge of the installation for about a year before he was relieved.

Navy Times submitted a Freedom of Information Act request for a copy of the investigation shortly after Ring’s termination, but SOUTHCOM has yet to release it.

SOUTHCOM’s release states that it “implemented training to address the issues identified” in the Ring investigation but fails to identify what those issues were or how the nature of the training designed to fix them.

Ring did not immediately respond to calls from Navy Times seeking comment.

His current status remains unclear, although his official military biography continues to list him as the commander of the task force in Cuba.

Navy officials ddin’t immediately respond to questions regarding his current duty station or whether Ring has retired.

This Jan. 21, 2009, sketch reviewed by the U.S. military, shows, from top left, Khalid Shaikh Mohammad; Walid bin Attash; Ramzi bin al Shibh; Ali Abdul Aziz Ali, also known as Ammar al Baluchi, and Mustafa al Hawsawi attend a hearing at the U.S. Military Commissions court for war crimes at the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. (Janet Hamlin/AP, Pool)
Trial in 9/11 case at Guantanamo gets early 2021 start date

A military judge on Friday set a date in early 2021 for the start of the long-stalled war crimes trial of five men being held at the Guantanamo Bay prison on charges of planning and aiding the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The New York Times first reported last month that Ring had been fired for mishandling classified information.

Those details emerged during a pre-trial hearing Guantanamo for an Iraqi prisoner accused of leading al Qaeda forces “that committed war crimes in Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004,” the newspaper revealed.

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