Guantanamo Bay Prison Should be Closed, Obama Says
WASHINGTON—President Barack Obama said Tuesday he’s going to make another attempt to close down the prison for terrorist suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
Obama says he’s asked a team of officials to review the issue and will take it back to Congress again.
“I think it is critical for us to understand that Guantanamo is not necessary to keep America safe. It is expensive. It is inefficient,” Obama said at a conference, according to a live feed of a news conference. He said the prison is a foreign policy problem as extremists can use it as a recruiting tool.
He said he’s not surprised there are problems at the facility, where 100 of the 166 inmates are on a hunger strike.
“It’s going to fester,” Obama said.
Obama ordered the detention center closed upon taking office, but Congress thwarted him and made it harder to move prisoners elsewhere.
“It’s not sustainable … the notion that we’re going to continue to keep over 100 individuals in a no-man’s land in perpetuity, even at a time when we’ve wound down the war in Iraq, we’re winding down the war in Afghanistan, and we’re having success defeating al-Qaeda core,” Obama said.
Releases and transfers have since become rare, giving detainees little hope of ever being released.
Obama’s current policy is to move detainees to maximum-security prisons around the United States, which has been blocked by Congress. They are held without trial and are considered prisoners of war.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.