January 15th, 2009
11:30 AM ET
6 years ago

Holder: Guantanamo Bay detention facility will be closed

President-elect Obama's pick for attorney general said Thursday that the incoming administration will close the Gitmo detention facility.
President-elect Obama's pick for attorney general said Thursday that the incoming administration will close the Gitmo detention facility.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Attorney General designate Eric Holder said Thursday that the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba will be closed after President-elect Obama takes office, but not as soon as the administration would like.

Watch: Gitmo will be closed, says Holder

The physical act of closing the facility isn't a problem, noted Holder. The more pressing question, he said, is the fate of the roughly 250 inmates currently being held at Guantanamo Bay.

Some of the inmates, Holder said, can be sent to other countries, while others can be prosecuted.

A third group of inmates, Holder indicated, can't be tried "for a variety of reasons" but also can't be released because they are too dangerous.

For that reason, the Obama administration won't be able to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility "as soon as we'd like."

Holder also pledged to only support interrogation techniques that are "consistent with who we are as Americans" and don't "serve as recruiting tools for the enemy." He promised that, if confirmed, the Justice Department would approve of techniques that don't violate "current treaty obligations... but (are)effective."

He cited the claims of military officials who have said that certain so-called "enhanced (interrogation) techniques" don't always produce reliable intelligence.

Earlier in his testimony, Holder said "waterboarding is torture" and a violation of the Geneva Conventions. Justice Department officials have said in the past that the technique was used but is no longer in use.

Holder earlier said he "wouldn't hesitate to resign" if he couldn't properly do his job as "the people's lawyer."

In a lighter moment, Holder said, in response to a question from Wisconsin Sen. Herb Kohl, that he could probably compete with Obama in a basketball game if given enough time "to get back in shape. Holder said he "has a New York City game."

Holder also said, however, that it probably wouldn't be wise to defeat the president-elect.

Obama is known to enjoy playing basketball.


Filed under: Eric Holder • Obama transition
soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. Karen - Missouri

    People should be realistic. It WILL take time to close Gitmo and people should just calm down a bit. Obama isn't even sworn in yet and everyone is so impatient for things to get done. I say everyone needs to CHILL OUT

    January 15, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  2. Al

    Send them back to their home countries. They are of no use to us now as any intel they may have had 5 years ago is obsolete and they will be of no use to their own countries as they should not have been allowed to gather any of our intel during their incarceration. Most of them are washed up and broken; continuing to torture them only demonstrates power over the powerless, which is what cowards do. The next best thing is to give them a .45, a single bullet and a half hour alone. We are more humane to animals in this country than we have been to these 'detainees'.

    January 15, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  3. Charles L. Shaw, Liverpool, NY

    I never thought in my wild dreams that someday we would be debating the morality of the United Staes of America having a concentration camp?
    What has happened to the US Constitution? Our Country should never ever gone down this road, I'm very scared for the future of our children and grandchildren as we continue to side step the very principles our founding father's risked everything so this Nation could be Free.
    I for one will continue to remind our leadership that we must preserve the Freedom and Liberty of all people even criminals or may God help us all.
    Our founding father's were fredom fighters here, but the the English Empire they were terrorists.

    January 15, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. Zac

    American Prisoners would love a visit with the Terrorists. Place them in general population.

    January 15, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  5. DP

    Does anyone realize who is held at Guantanamo? The mastermind behind the USS Cole bombing has the possibility of going free if we shut down the prison. I cannot fathom that anyone would think someone who planned and bombed a US warship killing several of our service personnel thinks this person should go free. They do not deserve rights under our Constitution. They shouuld not be allowed on American soil. Where were the rules of engagement when the terrorist attacked us? This is war where people die, not some sporting event. The end result out is we will put a bullet in the head of the attackers rather than worrying about taking prisoners because killing on the battlefield is legal.

    January 15, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  6. Vet

    Don't close it. You'll regret it later. These guys are bad. All you bleeding heart liberals are ruining this country.

    January 15, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  7. Scott Tucson

    Obama can release them, bring them all here and give them a trade like..maybe give them flight training?

    January 15, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  8. Matt

    Proof of GOP cowardice. Here's a bunch of people against whom we have no evidence with which to bring charges or obtain convictions, and because they're all brown and muslim, you've crapped your pants with fear and are too scared to have the integrity to stand by the founding principles of our country....innocent until proven guilty, justice, fairness, equity, INALIENABLE HUMAN RIGHTS, etc.

    BOK BOK CHICKENS

    January 15, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  9. Los

    If Republicans hate the media so much, why are they always posting here?

    January 15, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  10. Loyal Democrat in MD

    Follow the Constitution...pure and simple!!!!!
    NO TORTURE! CLOSE GITMO ASAP!

    January 15, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. worriedmom

    Send the "terroists" to all the Liberals home and let them take care of them. sure they will give them tea and cookies and tell them how terible the U.S. has been to them.

    January 15, 2009 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  12. SEMPER FI

    Closing the prison down would be like letting hundreds of Rabid Pit bulls out into the street. The prisoners are not doing time for stealing candy they are TERRIOST!!! They killed or been apart of mangling our fathers, brothers and sisters fighting for our freedom and safety at home an abroad. Criminals wont ever change as we have noticed with our own justice system. Such as re incarcerating repeat offenders after they were only giving another chance to take yet another love ones life. We can avoid such things if only we grew a SET and stopping gripping about what we should of done after we caused the problem such as closing the prison down. “ Grab a Rope”

    January 15, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    Amen maybe now we can fullfill the United States constitution!

    January 15, 2009 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  14. Matt

    @ Tim

    Wrong. First, accountability means you get punished for what you did wrong. We can't prove these people did anything wrong...you know, except for being brown and muslim and scaring GOPers. Second, one would think we'd moved past Hamurabi's Code when Jesus taught us to turn the other cheek, but hey, the Bible is only there for GOPers to argue with at their convenience, right? Third, again, there is no proof that many of these people being held have done ANYTHING, so considering them subhuman before anything is proven, before they've been tried and convicted, and holding them without access to representation or a day in court pretty much makes you subhuman.

    January 15, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  15. annie the Democrat

    Where are they going to be moved to?

    Are they turning them back to Iraq where they will either be executed or return to their terrorist activities?

    January 15, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  16. g.j man

    If torture keeps my family safe from american hating persons trying to destroy us hell yes. If you ask me enough hasnt been done. Clinton killed the intelligence agency so things had to be done quick to protect this country.
    Bush didnt listen to whiny liberals and because of that there has not been another attack here in 7 years...

    Wow you libs think you can hug and kiss and talk to persons into changing.Guess what you cant. And if you think waterboarding is torture what are you going to do tickle the information out of them.

    They are not americans and deserve no rights under the constitution.

    As long as my family is safe I could care less what happens to sub humans.

    I am sad to think that I will be back on here saying I told you so to all you arse kissing libs.. I guess you think israel should just take the rockets without trying to protect their citizens too.

    You got a corrupt and spineless congress and president...

    Too bad the wake up call to you will hurt all americans.

    January 15, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  17. obama-mama

    I say drop them off in Alaska so Sarah Palin can give them a ride over to Russia

    January 15, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  18. No Incumbents 2010

    This is exactly what some people were talking about including Joe Biden, the experience issue. It seems Obama is learning as he goes. "I'm going to withdraw troops by this date!" wait can't do it by then because______. "I'm going to close Guatanimo!" wait can't do it because ________. Darn it I wish there was some kind of manual, like Presidency for Dummies.

    January 15, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  19. arc, Lugano CH

    Libs be dopes January 15th, 2009 2:19 pm ET
    Obama will take care of his buds, no problem.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    You could never hope to understand the entire picture. You're a bloody idiot; truly the intellectual equivalent of raw sewage.

    January 15, 2009 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  20. vet

    they don't fall under the constitution. They are not citizens. They are the enemy. Why can't you see that. Can't wait till David Petraeus gets elected in 2012. VOTE REPUBLICAN!!!

    January 15, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  21. JJ12345

    obama-mama January 15th, 2009 3:19 pm ET

    I say drop them off in Alaska so Sarah Palin can give them a ride over to Russia
    __________________________________________________
    Better yet, drop them off in Chicago

    January 15, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  22. WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I BET OBAMA HAS SOME CLOSE FRIENDS BEING HELD!!!!!!!

    I WISH IS KNEW THE TRUTH BEHIND THE SCENES!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 15, 2009 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  23. STFU

    Close the concentration camp or wear swatikas.

    January 15, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  24. WELCOME TO THE OBAMA SHOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

    OBAMA-MAMA,

    AFTER HUISSAIN OBAMA GETS DONE WITH THIS COUNTRY YOU ARE GOING TO WISH YOU LIVED IN RUSSIA TOO!!!!!!!!!

    January 15, 2009 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  25. Outraged Democrat

    Just behead them, libs don't seem to mind that.

    January 15, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
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