“AP sources: Guantanamo might not close by January
By JENNIFER LOVEN (AP)
WASHINGTON — The White House acknowledged for the first time Friday that it might not be able to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay by January as President Barack Obama has promised.
Senior administration officials told The Associated Press that difficulties in completing the lengthy review of detainee files and resolving thorny legal and logistical questions mean the president’s self-imposed January deadline may slip. Obama remains as committed to closing the facility as he was when, as one of his first acts in office, he pledged to shut it down, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity in order to more freely discuss the sensitive issue.
The prison in Cuba was created by former President George W. Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks as a landing spot for suspected al-Qaida, Taliban and foreign fighters captured in Afghanistan and elsewhere. But it has since become a lightning rod of anti-U.S. criticism around the globe. There are approximately 225 detainees still being held at the prison.
Obama promised soon after taking office — and many times since — to close the prison, arguing that doing so is crucial to restoring America’s image in the world and to creating a more effective anti-terror approach.
But eight months after Obama’s pledge and with only four months to go before the January deadline, a number of difficult issues remain unresolved. They include establishment of a new set of rules for military trials, finding a location for a new prison to house detainees and finding host countries for those who can be released.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is acknowledging for the first time that it might not be able to meet President Barack Obama’s January deadline for closing the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay.
Senior administration officials tell The Associated Press that Obama is still committed to closing the facility, which he promised last January to do within a year. But the officials say the slow process of reviewing each of the cases of the approximately 225 detainees and resolving thorny questions about how each should be handled and where each should be relocated means the president’s deadline may slip.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity in order to more freely discuss the sensitive issue.”
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