November 10th, 2008
03:26 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama team ponders what to do with Guantanamo inmates

President-elect Obama's transition team has begun pondering what to do with Guantanamo inmates.
President-elect Obama's transition team has begun pondering what to do with Guantanamo inmates.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - President-elect Obama's transition team has begun examining what to do with suspected terrorists at the U.S. prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, which Obama has pledged to close, an aide said Monday.

Denis McDonough, a senior adviser to the incoming Democrat, told CNN no decisions have been made about what to do with the roughly 250 inmates there, "and there is no process in place to make that decision until his national security and legal teams are assembled."

But officials close to the Obama team said Monday that the incoming administration is pondering whether to try some of the Guantanamo Bay inmates in existing federal courts; set up a special national security court to deal with cases involving the most sensitive intelligence information; or release others.

The scenario would eliminate the military commissions set up by the Bush administration to prosecute some of the top al Qaeda figures now held at the facility, such as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed - the lead plotter of the September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington.

The commissions have been delayed for years by legal challenges, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled an earlier version of them unconstitutional in 2006.

In a full-page ad in The New York Times on Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union urged Obama to close the prison camp on his first day in office, "with the stroke of a pen."

But in an October 31 interview with CNN, Obama said only that he would close the facility "as quickly as we can do prudently."

"I am not going to give a time certain because I think what we have to do is evaluate all those who are still being held in Gitmo," he said. "We have to put in place appropriate plans to make sure they are tried, convicted and punished to the full extent of the law, and that's going to require, I think, a
review of the existing cases, which I have not had the opportunity to do."

soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. Angry MARINE VETERN

    Once again the DUMBOCRATS are costing the taxpayers more money, just the way all of you with blinders on in that party, like it. Why don't you morons wise up for ONCE in your lives and stop blaming BUSH for everything. First of all the ECONOMY is like it is thanks to the DEMS. that took over congress in 2006, that is exactly when it started the dramatic decline..Second anyone on here that actually believes what ANY politician aka (LIAR) says, needs to wake up. They all tell you what you want to hear, then do whatever benefits them the most. IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN LIKE THAT..For all of you who want to sit back in your easy chair and constantly bash the war and those involved, get off your LIBERAL butts, go over there and see things for yourselves, and then MAYBE you might have a little change of heart. Here is a great quote 4 all of YOU....FOR THOSE WHO FIGHT FOR IT, FREEDOM HAS A SPECIAL FLAVOR, THE PROTECTED NEVER KNOW....I don't expect most of you who read it to understand or even care, but that is why AMERICA is like it is today, because most of you are all about yourselves...

    November 10, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  2. Paul in FL

    The best approach is to take them to Iran and turn them loose.
    The expense and effort to prosecute them is a tremendous waste for little gain.

    November 10, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  3. Glenn in California

    Gitmo was a disaster from day one, just like Bush. It's just one more mess that President-elect Obama is going to need to clean up.

    November 10, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  4. Randy - Denver

    Secret Prisons are unconstitutional, and the same goes from prisons conveniently built outside "acknowledged" US soil so the US laws don't apply there.

    An intersting point since Gitmo is a US Military base it is, by definition, US soil.. after all I was born on a military base in Germany, McCain was born on one in Panama and we are both natural born US citizens... Just a thought

    November 10, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  5. Dan

    Let them go, and send them off to the blue states. Maybe they can thin out the herd a bit.

    November 10, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  6. Parker R.

    Perhaps they should get rid of certain interrogation methods, like waterboarding, but definetley NOT release and bring them to America. There will be no safe place in America for these men. Find some remote island for them, I don't care. I do NOT want these terrorists in my country.

    November 10, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  7. Get with it!

    Oh, great! Terrorists on the loose!! What an idiot!

    November 10, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  8. deb

    Guantanamo will go down in history as one of our most shameful issues. Bush has just done so much damage to our credibility in the world, not to even mention everything else!!

    November 10, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  9. Benson Martin

    Put them in planes and release them...in mid air.

    November 10, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  10. From Texas

    The people in Guantanamo are not American citizens and therefore do not have the same rights as citizens. That said I do believe they have human rights, but not a right to a slick American attorney.

    November 10, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  11. Luigi ina California

    Treat them like human beings with human rights.

    November 10, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  12. Archie H.

    Heck just let them go! All they need is a group hug and a few nights stay in the homes of the bleeding heart lefties of this country!

    November 10, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  13. Druid Hippies Chose Wrong

    Criminal trials for terrorists minimize the scale of their wrong doing. They should never have been brought to Gitmo to begin with (i.e., they should have been SHOT on the battlefield). One sure way to ensure the release of deadly terrorists is to try them in a court system designed for citizenry and which is designed to deal with its own sovereign laws and people who are supposed to be following those laws. Clearly Obama fails to understand a battlefield is NOT like a typical crime scene and does not involve domestic citizenry. What a tragic misstep this would be. Do any of you ever read the international headlines and see how terrorists get really light sentences when they're tried in European countries? Well, lib-tards, that's because they try and process them through criminal courts. How would you all like it if Obama tried Osama and he got 10 years on some technicality because of the nature of the court system? You'd all be hopping mad (well you all are anyway since you are liberals).

    November 10, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  14. boered1

    @from Texas actually the Constitution makes no distinction between American citizens and others when it talks about rights. It states "We hold these truths to be self evident that ALL men are created equal and are endowed by their creator with certain inalianable rights among these are life liberty and the pursuit of happiness>" Sorry the fiction that non Americans are not deserving of the rightspromised to all is simply another distortion of the Constittuion used by the bush administration to violate these same rights.

    November 10, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  15. Catherine

    I absolutely think that those being held should be tried, and a decision made thereafter. However, I think this is a much trickier situation than most people realize. The Bush administration has openly acknowledged that some people there are most likely not guilty of anything. If I were held for several years for something I didn't do, even if I were exonerated in a trial, I'd be pretty pissed off. So it's not as easy as one "stroke of the pen." If those being held had been tried in a timely fashion, this problem wouldn't exist – now it's just another mess President-elect Obama must clean up. I think those of us who want to see Guantanamo closed must be patient with Obama, because this is a delicate issue.

    November 10, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  16. Dewey

    Wonder Obama knows any of the Gitmo inmates. Or does he only know radicals internal to our country?

    November 10, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  17. I LOVE OBAMA

    @ Dan
    Lmao love your comment, its funny, but you're still a moron ....

    November 10, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
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