President-elect Barack Obama plans to order the closing of the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay as early as his first week in office to show a break from the Bush administration’s approach to the war on terror, according to two officials close to the transition.
“The president-elect has repeatedly said the legal framework at Gitmo has failed to successfully and swiftly prosecute terrorists,” said one of the officials close to the transition, who was not authorized to speak publicly about private deliberations.
Such a move would reassure those concerned after Obama’s recent public comments suggested he may not immediately shut the prison down.
“It is more difficult than I think a lot of people realize and we are going to get it done, but part of the challenge that you have is that you have a bunch of folks that have been detained, many of whom who may be very dangerous who have not been put on trial or have not gone through some adjudication,” Obama said on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday when asked whether he would close the prison in his first 100 days.
Obama also said he was trying to develop a process that “adheres to rule of law” but “doesn’t result in releasing people who are intent on blowing us up.”
“I think it’s going to take some time and our legal teams are working in consultation with our national security apparatus as we speak, to help design exactly what we need to do,” Obama said.
“But I don’t want to be ambiguous about this. We are going to close Guantanamo and we are going to make sure that the procedures we set up are ones that abide by our Constitution,” he said.