Congressional legislation bans the transfer of Gitmo detainees to prisons in the US, but we’ve never known Obama to let a little thing like the law of the land get in his way. According to a WSJ report, the President is contemplating using executive action to close Guantanamo Bay, as he promised he would before the 2008 election.
Obama could essentially achieve his goal of shutting down Gitmo by one of two ways. He could veto the annual defense spending bill, which includes a provision prohibiting him from moving any of the prison’s inmates back to the US. In such a case, Congress would be stuck between a rock and a hard place, forced to choose between defunding the military are releasing detainees to the US prison system.
If this plan doesn’t work, Obama could declare the restrictions on detainee transfers unconstitutional and unilaterally move to transfer the prisoners to a military or civilian prison facility in the US.
Former White House press secretary Jay Carney eluded to Obama’s intentions back in May, stating:
“This Administration has repeatedly objected to statutory restrictions that impede our ability to responsibly close the detention facility and pursue appropriate options for the detainees remaining there, including by determining when and where to prosecute detainees, based on the facts and circumstances of each case and our national security interests.”
Sucking up around $500 million per year in resources, the Obama Administration has argued that Gitmo is a waste of money. However, we’ve seen how much this President enjoys spending and the absurd things he has spent tax dollars on, so that excuse holds no weight. Perhaps Obama could cut back on the vacationing so that we don’t have to house dangerous terrorists – some of whom were directly involved in 9/11 – on US mainland soil.
The Hill reported that Obama is quietly making moves to ensure the shutdown is underway. 79 inmates have already been approved for transfer to foreign countries, though suitable host countries aren’t exactly jumping up and down to take the detainees in. 33 inmates are in pretrial hearings or have been designated for prosecution. Another 37 have been deemed too dangerous to move, though the government lacks sufficient evidence to convict them.
Guantanamo Bay currently houses 149 detainees. Do you think it is a good idea for these bottom feeders to be kept in a normal prison? Sound off in the comments section.