Pentagon: Obama Admin to Present Proposal to Close Guantánamo Bay

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

The Pentagon will submit a proposal for shutting down the U.S. military detention facility in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, a spokesman reportedly said Monday.

According to The Hill, Navy Capt. Jeff Davis, a Pentagon spokesman, said the Obama administration will meet the Tuesday deadline for submitting a plan for closing the prison camp and moving its terrorist detainees.

“We understand that the deadline is tomorrow and it’s our intent to meet it,” said the spokesman.

The proposal will call for the closure of the facility and outline several options on how to do so, added Davis.

President Obama has vowed to shut down the Guantánamo Bay prison, which still houses 91 detainees.

“The plan is to submit to Congress what our thoughts are on the issue, and what we see is a way ahead necessary to achieve the closure of Guantanamo and to specifically point out the need for legislative relief,” said Davis.

The spokesman explained that the Obama administration still plans to transfer out as many prisoners as possible and bring the remaining ones to the United States, a move that is opposed by many lawmakers, particularly GOP members of Congress.

In the past several years, lawmakers have prohibited the transfer of detainees to the United States and have placed restrictions on transfers to other countries, arguing that the prisoners pose a national security threat.

“Approval from Congress may be the only way the White House can fulfill Obama’s wish to close the prison,” reports The Hill. “Amid speculation over whether the president could bring detainees to the U.S. via executive authority, the military said last month it would not take any actions that would violate the law.”

In a Jan. 15 letter to Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) and military veterans in the House, the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) said the U.S. military “will not take any action contrary to those restrictions” put in place by lawmakers.

“Current law prohibits the use of funds to ‘transfer, release, or assist in the transfer or release’ of detainees from Guantánamo Bay to or within the United States and prohibits the construction, modification, or acquisition of any facility in the United States to house any Guantanamo detainee,” wrote Army Lt. Gen. William Mayville, director of the Joint Staff in the letter.

Rep. Pompeo noted that JCS joined Attorney General Loretta Lynch and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter in asserting that President Obama is legally prohibited from bringing Guantanamo detainees to the United States.

“In an attempt to fulfill his campaign promise, and without regard for America’s national security interests, President Obama is attempting to transfer terrorists held at Guantanamo to sites in the U.S., including Ft. Leavenworth in Kansas and the Naval Brig in South Carolina,” said Pompeo, in a Jan. 16 statement. “But Congress has repeatedly spoken in a bipartisan fashion: he cannot bring dangerous jihadists, like the mastermind behind the 9/11 attacks, into our country.”

“Fifteen of my Congressional colleagues, who also served our country in uniform, joined me in writing to the Joint Chiefs, for we understand that President Obama has signed multiple laws that prohibit him from acting in the way he is threatening,” he added. “Not even the president can break laws because he finds them inconvenient in achieving a political end.”


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