Obama may move to shut the prison down in violation of the law.
President Obama rode into the White House vilifying George W. Bush’s “unchecked presidential power” and “ignoring the law when it is inconvenient,” as he put it in 2007. Yet now Mr. Obama is poised to exceed any executive action his predecessor so much as contemplated as he may shut down Guantanamo Bay in defiance of inconvenient laws he signed.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Tuesday testified that she knew of no Administration plans to go around Congress, though a Justice Department spokesman later said this was not a definitive statement. This confusion comes on the heels of the U.S. release of five Guantanamo detainees who were sent to the United Arab Emirates.
Mr. Obama promised to close the terrorist prison in Cuba during his first week in office—but as journalist Charlie Savage reports in his new book “Power Wars,” Mr. Obama’s military-legal team was surprised to discover that most of the enemy combatants were as dangerous as Mr. Bush said they were. Thus Gitmo has remained open, while Mr. Obama’s bid to try Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and the 9/11 plotters in civilian courts exploded on the launch pad amid bipartisan opposition.
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With the end of his tenure in sight, the President is now looking for legal excuses to close the prison without Congressional approval. Since the KSM fiasco in 2009, Congresses run by Democrats and Republicans have specified in defense bills that no Treasury money may be used to transfer or maintain detainees to the U.S. The prohibitions in the most recent defense legislation—which passed the Senate 91-3 and the House 370-58—are the strongest ever.
Yet the Pentagon may soon announce a plan to transfer the remaining 107 dangerous combatants that no other country will accept to a domestic facility such as Fort Leavenworth or the Colorado supermax. Amid Mr. Obama’s many executive rewrites on carbon, ObamaCare and labor this flouting of the law would be the worst.Read the rest of WSJ editorial HERE.
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