President Barack Obama signaled defeat on one of his main campaign promises Monday as a report from Reuters said the administration has ruled out using an executive order to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center.
Reuters cited anonymous sources familiar with deliberations in saying that the White House would not seek to close the facility and house detainees on American soil, an action that would have required an executive order to override the existing prohibition on bringing Gitmo detainees to the United States. The facility was opened in the wake of the 9/11 attack to house suspected terrorists.
“Finally, President Obama has abandoned the notion of using an executive order to close the Guantanamo Bay detention center – this type of order would have been illegal and unconstitutional,” said Rep. Lynn Jenkins, R-Kan., in a statement. “Both the American people and Congress have repeatedly and consistently stated that the detention center should be kept open and must be kept open to protect America’s national security.”
Republicans have opposed any plan to close Gitmo and house detainees in the U.S.
Reuters reported that the White House has studied ways to get around the existing ban, but could find neither firm legal ground nor sufficient political support for such an action.
“It was just deemed too difficult to get through all of the hurdles that they would need to get through, and the level of support they were likely to receive on it was thought to be too low to generate such controversy, particularly at a sensitive (time) in an election cycle,” Reuters reported its source as saying.
“The king is in check,” wrote Rick Moran on The American Thinker. “The president knows the bipartisan firestorm that will erupt if he brings any of those terrorists housed at Gitmo to American soil. Even many Democrats aren’t that stupid.”
Moran noted that although the population of Gitmo has dwindled, it may yet rise.
“We are likely to, at some point, send thousands more troops to Iraq to battle the Islamic State. That means more terrorist prisoners. What do we do with these high-value fighters, who may have advance knowledge of attacks on the West?” he wrote. “Guantanamo may yet prove useful in the near future.”
h/t: The Hill