White House sources have confirmed to Reuters the Obama administration won’t plan on pursing the option of issuing an executive order to close down Guantanamo Bay, in effect jettisoning earlier remarks that no option would be left off the table.
Now the chances President Barack Obama can fulfill his 2008 campaign promise and shutter the facility before his time in office is up have just plummeted, Reuters reports.
“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,” the source told Reuters.
Now, the Obama administration will have to rely on persuading Congress to remove the ban on transporting Gitmo detainees to the United States for holding.
It’s unlikely that the attempt will succeed. Congress is vehemently opposed to moving any detainees to U.S. soil, and those most in opposition to the proposal are those in states under consideration to house Gitmo detainees. Fear of these detainees has only been on the rise as of late, ever since anonymous officials admitted that 12 Gitmo detainees have been linked in attacks, leading to the deaths of at least six Americans. Part of the reason why it’s taken so long for this information to come out is because the Obama administration is trying to designate classified as much information as possible to avoid nasty reactions from the public.
At this point, there are just 80 detainees left in Gitmo, and the administration hopes to at least cut that number down to 20. The State Department has said it will move at least 30 out by this summer. Since those detainees are deemed to dangerous to release and must be held indefinitely, it seems Gitmo will remain open, unless the administration can convince a Republican Congress that keeping the prison open in Cuba just for 20 detainees is not fiscally responsible. Currently, each prisoner costs around $5.5 million each, based on levels of funding needed to keep the prison running.
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