White House: Don’t Worry, We’re Definitely Going To Close Guantanamo Bay

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Jonah Bennett Contributor
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White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough reiterated Sunday President Barack Obama is absolutely committed to closing down Guantanamo Bay before the end of his term.

Appearing on Fox News on Sunday, McDonough said Obama will soon present a closure plan to Congress, hoping for approval, The Hill reports. The arguments for closing the facility is that terrorists successfully recruit based on its existence and additionally that it is incredibly expensive.

Obama has promised since the start of his campaign to shutter the facility, but has faced serious opposition from Congress and from members of his own administration. In fact, former defense secretary Chuck Hagel said he was essentially purged after refusing to rush detainees out of the facility. Other officials from the Pentagon have undermined the White House for years, mocking the idea of accepting orders to expedite detainee removal.

Perhaps anticipating that this plan might fail before Congress, McDonough added the White House has a few cards up its sleeve in the event that Congress snubs the proposal, though it’s unclear whether that would entail an executive order.

“The president has said from the beginning of this administration that we will close Gitmo because it’s bad for our national security and because it’s too costly,” McDonough told Fox News host Chris Wallace.

“We ought to make sure that we’re in a position to close that facility because it strengthens us when we close it. That’s what the president will do. He feels an obligation to his successor to close that, and that’s why we’re going to do it,” McDonough said.

Congress has waited months for the promised proposal, a timeline long enough to infuriate White House allies. Even as late as November, the White House and Pentagon insisted the release of the plan was imminent.

GOP Sen. [crscore]John McCain[/crscore], a noted supporter of the attempt to close Gitmo, has complained about delays and the fact that the proposal will likely contain several options.

For McCain, the proposal should only present a single option, and the administration can expect a lawsuit if it attempts to circumvent Congress.

There are 104 detainees left in the facility.

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