Thursday, December 25, 2014

Obama Plans More Gitmo Transfers in Coming Weeks

President Barack Obama aims to make 2015 a landmark year in his long-stalled effort to close the detention center in Guantanamo Bay, with plans to announce a flurry of detainee transfers in coming weeks, senior administration officials said.
Mr. Obama is also seeking to reshape the national debate over closing the facility in Cuba by casting it as a fiscal issue, arguing that keeping it open is cost-prohibitive.
The aggressive push on an issue Mr. Obama sees as critical to his legacy sets him up for a pitched battle with lawmakers in Congress over one of the most controversial global symbols of the U.S. fight against terrorism, some 13 years after it was opened in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“I’m going to be doing everything I can to close it,” Mr. Obama said in a CNN interview that aired Sunday, renewing a pledge he made during his first presidential campaign.
“It does not make sense for us to spend millions of dollars per individual when we have a way of solving this problem that’s more consistent with our values,” he said, such as transferring to U.S. prisons those detainees who are slated for trial or considered too dangerous for release. Pentagon figures released in 2013 showed a total cost of about $2.7 million per Guantanamo detainee annually, compared with roughly $80,000 for an inmate at a federal supermax prison.
Republicans, who have refused to repeal restrictions on transferring detainees to the U.S., redoubled their position that the offshore prison should continue operating. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., S.C.), whom Mr. Obama once counted as a potential ally in shutting the facility, said Sunday that “rather than closing Guantanamo Bay, he should be filling up the place, because terrorism is on the march.”
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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