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McCain Blames Obama Administration For Not Submitting Gitmo Closure Plan In Time

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Jonah Bennett Contributor

GOP Sen. John McCain is blaming the Obama administration for the hard-line stance against Guantanamo Bay listed in the conference version of the National Defense Authorization Act.

Without a final closure proposal in hand, McCain had no chance at securing any agreement to close the facility. The legislation as it now stands includes the same restrictions on transferring prisoners out of Guantanamo that have existed since 2009, as well as an outright ban on moving detainees to countries like Libya, Syria, Somalia and Yemen.

Also mentioned is a request for the Obama administration to submit a plan with ideas for the future of the facility.

Although the White House has promised to veto legislation that blocks detainee transfers, McCain, who also chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, said that the White House has no one to blame but itself.

“There is still no plan on what to do and how to do it with the detainees at Guantánamo Bay,” said McCain. “If the administration complains about the provisions concerning Guantánamo, then it’s their fault because they never came forward with a plan.”

Despite the facility’s closure being an administration priority as of late, no plan was sent to Congress. The Pentagon is currently scouting out potentially suitable locations for prisoners to be shipped in the United States. Two of the facilities under consideration are Fort Leavenworth in Kansas and the Naval Brig in Charleston, South Carolina. GOP Sens. Pat Roberts and Tim Scott, from Kansas and South Carolina respectively, called the plan to locate dangerous detainees in those locations absurd. (RELATED: Senators: Bringing Gitmo Detainees To Kansas And South Carolina Is Preposterous)

Both Democrats on the House and Senate defense committees refused to sign the conference report. Democratic Rep. Adam Smith highlighted Gitmo as one of the reasons for holding back his signature.

“This bill perpetuates the existence of the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, which continues to serve as propaganda for extremists and undermine our moral standing in the world. It is also unnecessary and excessively expensive, costing millions per detainee,” Smith said.

The House is set to vote on the bill Thursday. No vote is yet scheduled for the Senate. For over 50 years, the defense bill has passed without a hitch, but Obama seems serious about his veto threat.

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