Wire: Obama Expected to Close Gitmo Immediately After Inauguration
News in Balance:
WASHINGTON, Jan. 12, 2009 -- The Associated Press is reporting today that President-elect Barack Obama is preparing to issue an executive order his first week in office -- and perhaps on first day -- to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, according to two presidential transition team advisers.
This contradicts statements Obama made in a weekend interview when the President elect said it's unlikely the detention facility at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba will be closed anytime soon, specifically remarking that it would be "a challenge" to close it even within the first 100 days of his administration.
It is unsure why Obama and his advisers are offering conflicting and confusing positions on the issue.
Providing cover for the incoming Obama administration, The New York Times, in an article written by William Glaberson and Helene Cooper, explained for the President-elect his position on the closing, saying, "the decision to address Guantanamo on the day after his inauguration seemed intended to make a symbolic break with some of the most controversial policies of the Bush administration."
However, the Times noted that any quick decision to close the detention camp, while a symbolic political act of immediacy, would require as long as a year to complete in reality.
Quoting from the AP article:
[The] order, which one adviser said could be issued as early as Jan. 20, would start the process of deciding what to do with the estimated 250 al-Qaida and Taliban suspects and potential witnesses who are being held there. Most have not been charged with a crime.A Pentagon team also has been looking at ways to shut Guantanamo and move its detainees but spokesman Bryan Whitman did not immediately know Monday whether it was completed.
The Guantanamo directive would be one of a series of executive orders Obama is planning to issue shortly after he takes office next Tuesday, according to the two advisers. Also expected is an executive order about certain interrogation methods, but details were not immediately available Monday.
The advisers spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the orders that have not yet been finalized.
Obama transition team spokeswoman Brooke Anderson declined comment Monday.
The two advisers said the executive order will direct the new administration to look at each of the cases of the Guantanamo detainees to see whether they can be released or if they should still be held -- and if so, where.
(Report from a commercial media source.)
Advisers say Obama preparing to close Gitmo
Obama: Unlikely to Close Guantanamo in First 100 Days
NYT: Obama’s Plan to Close Prison at Guantánamo May Take Year
Related: Pentagon: Gates Requests Plan to Close Guantanamo
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