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.
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.