November 15th, 2009
11:47 AM ET
5 years ago

Axelrod says WH will 'substantially meet' Gitmo deadline

A top adviser to the president said the administration is 'making good progress' towards closing Guantanamo detention facility.
A top adviser to the president said the administration is 'making good progress' towards closing Guantanamo detention facility.

(CNN) – With the clock ticking down to the Obama administration’s self-imposed deadline for closing the U.S. military detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, senior Obama adviser David Axelrod said the White House believes it will come close to the original deadline but may not exactly make the one-year deadline.

Announcing on January 22 of this year that “Guantanamo will be closed no later than one year from now,” Obama himself committed the new administration to closing the controversial facility by late January 2010. Since then, the administration has confronted complex legal issues over what to do with the approximately 200 terror suspects still detained at Guantanamo, which has made the deadline increasingly unattainable.

But, in an interview that aired Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union, Axelrod said the administration will come close.

“We believe we’re going to substantially meet the deadline,” Axelrod told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, “We may not hit it on the date but we will close Guantanamo and we’re making good progress toward doing it.”

Asked by King how many more months the administration anticipated that Guantanamo would remain open, Axelrod refused to specify a time frame.

“I’m not going to put a deadline on it, John, but we’re going to get it done. We’re moving toward getting it done in all the different dimensions that are necessary to get it done.”

Democratic officials said White House Counsel Greg Craig was ousted because of frustration among senior White House aides over his handling of the plans to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. He’s set to leave his post early next year.

Related: Top White House lawyer resigns

soundoff (27 Responses)
  1. SocialismBad

    Sure, meet your ridiculous deadlines while endangering people in New York with show trials that will turn into a farce. When these war criminals are let off because they weren't read their Miranda rights, or denied legal counsel, then the whole country will know just how incompetent and dangerous Obama and his flunkies really are. This country is soooo screwed.

    November 15, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  2. victim of republican greed

    Too bad you wingnuts have no faith in the constitution or our judicial system. Your baseless negative comments with no facts, only fear, are as premature as your socialism wet dreams.

    November 15, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. victim of republican greed

    The reason Obama is president is because of the incompetence of the republican party and their candidates. We are fortunate to have avoided being so screwed.

    November 15, 2009 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  4. cadillac mac

    @Socialism. You are not endangering people in NY by having trials of these war criminals. that is total b.s. and you need to understand the facts first without just spouting off. You are saying the opposite of what is true. Obama is good for this country and going in the right direction. Unlike your president GW Bush.

    November 15, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  5. victim of republican greed

    The wingnuts are so afraid of a trial of the self admitted leader of the 9-11 terrorists. I know that Hitler and the Nazis were not in favor of giving people trials either.

    November 15, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  6. DEM in HI

    If we are so scared to protect our judicial system, we have failed as a society. What better way to reward terrorists than stating we cannot put these dogs because we are afraid they might attack again. Gitmo is a disgrace and one of the leading recruitment incentives for terrorists. How long do we hold people without charge? The GOP is so off base on this issue. We hold them without charge, they do not fall under the Geneva Convention rules because they were not under a government run military, yet we are going to try them under a military tribunal. A system that the military lawyers have stated over and over again that is influence heavily by politicians. Time for the wimps in the GOP to either face the fact we can put these dogs on trial and show that we will survive, or time to admit that all of the Homeland Security actions for the last eight years are a waste of time and money.

    November 15, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  7. Terry from West Texas

    SocialismBad wrote: ... endangering people in New York with show trials that will turn into a farce. When these war criminals are let off because they weren't read their Miranda rights, or denied legal counsel, then the whole country will know just how incompetent and dangerous Obama and his flunkies really are. ..."

    I do hope that SocialismBad is man enough to say he was wrong if none of the war criminals are released on a legal technicality.

    How are the people of New York endangered by having a trial there? A terrorist attack is predicted, I assume. I see all those bumper stickers with a picture of the American flag and the caption "These colors never run." I'm pretty sure that SocialismBad does not have one of those on his bumper. His recommendation is that any legal process in our democracy that terrorists don't like should be immediately suspended, I guess.

    Personally, I am not afraid of terrorists. It is true that terrorists have killed about 9,000 Americans since 2002. However, over 14,000 Americans were killed by other Americans in 2008. Statistically, I am much more likely to be killed by another American with a gun than by a foreign terrorist.

    Buck up there, SocialismBad. Show some spine.

    November 15, 2009 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. Henry

    to SocialismBad,

    You and your Republican crackpots truly are unpatriotic. You care none about our laws and keep trying to scare everybody. Your comment about our country being sooooo screwed truly indicates how deep in the Republican gutter you and your friends have sunk.
    As you always say about those who disagree with you, "Go move to Iceland" where you and yours can chew the fat.

    November 15, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  9. babs reinard

    What's the rush-it's been 8 years No comments from Romney.I'm guessing it's political.

    November 15, 2009 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  10. nick

    Unfortunately for the American public, CNN and John King in particular have decided to be the mouthpiece of the Republican Party without disclosing the limitation of their perspective and the blinders they have chosen to wear on matters that should be open to genuine public debate. Sorry, CNN, I no longer watch your programming. There is no news, just Republican talking points camoflaged as "news."

    November 15, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. JMikey54

    The faster we close the Gitmo prison the better. And unlike what Rep Kirk said The gitmo prison was not built "to keep terrorists away from U.S. soil." It was built to allow Bush and Cheney's henchmen an excuse to use torture on the prisoners and deny them rights that they feared they would claim if brought to the U.S.

    The world sees Gitmo as the dark spot on the American soul that it is. It is time to clean it up and Obama is doing that and so much more for America.

    November 15, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  12. Dan, TX

    Americans are wimps. The terrorists should be afraid of us, not the other way 'round. What's wrong with you people. Bring a terrorist to me, I'll take care of them for you. You all go hide under your beds until I solve the problem for you.

    November 15, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  13. nick

    SocialismBad should have confidence in our robust judicial system. Rudy's blah, blah, blah about "abandoning the war on terror" is just political chatter. There is a genuine difference of opinion in the American public about judicial process for individuals who commit acts of terror. Declaring war on people, not a country, is absurd – a la War on Poverty, War on Drugs. The "War" on Terror is a platitude that opportunists, such as Rudy, find instills fear in people and is an good tool for electoral politics. Rudy, who put his command center in the World Trade Center after the 1993 bombing, got unjustified CNN face time on Sept. 11 and hoped to use it to catapult himself into the greater power and wealth of the presidency.

    November 15, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  14. B

    Yes, it will take some time to shovel out of the very large pile of manure that Bush handed off to Obama. Gitmo is a considerable part of that pile..

    November 15, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  15. Tear Down the GOP Curtain

    The one-trick pony GOP fear-mongering is dead. Get over it...America is sick and tired of Dick Cheny and the GOP propaganda. Meanwhile Americans can finally be proud of our President again and our European NATO allies are finally on the same page with our stance on treating prisoners according to the Geneva Convention.

    November 15, 2009 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  16. New Yorker

    As I write this "victim of republican greed" has been allowed to post 3 out of the 13 comments. Cnn will rarely post my comments. I guess they want the ratio to liberals' comments to be way more than conservative. Obama is destroying our security; he should be impeached.

    November 15, 2009 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  17. Impeach them all

    This Administrations take on Terrorism is the problem, not the solution. These people want to KILL us. They do not care if you are military or civilian. They do not like us and there is nothing you can do to make them change their minds. Do you really think talking all nice to them...PAYING them to turn to our side is going to work? They will gladly take the money and give it to their organization to buy more weapons to kill us.

    Putting these murders on trial is a joke, nothing more. They are not US Citizens and DO NOT deserve US Constitutional Rights. Each and every one of them deserves a bullet to the head. They would do that and more to us if given the chance. How many more American's need to die because of this Administrations cowardness to do what is right.

    By the time Obama's 4 years are up, if he's not impeached by then, he will have Bush looking like a Saint for keeping us safe since 9/11/01 to Jan 21, 2009

    November 15, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    These trials will be good for America, bad for Republicans (each on two counts):

    America will benefit from within by seeing that our criminal/judicial system is up to the tasks of maintaining security and administering justice.
    America will benefit from without when, like it or not, the facts come out and show that these criminal/terrorist individuals acted in an inhumane, unGodly way, leaving little/no doubt, that under American and International law, they ARE criminals, and that we RESPECT the rule of law again.

    Republicans will be shown as criminals and failures for allowing then President GWB to ignore, flout the laws we live by, in America, and as members of the International community.
    Republicans will continue to be seen as the party of "NO." And, as America heals from the wounds they inflicted, they will continue to be less relevant.

    November 15, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  19. Jenn, Philadelphia

    What does "substantially meet the deadline" mean? You either meet the deadline or don't. All this Admiinistration has proved is they're learning how to "spin" as well as every other Administration has done.

    November 15, 2009 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  20. Stacie

    I trust our judicial system, and Illinois' supermax prison could handle those convicted. The area could use the jobs, too. Others who don't think we Americans can't handle this are uninformed wimps...other terrorists have been tried in the US and are currently kept in US prisons. Go find something else to complain about. Maybe you don't like the color of President Obama's socks, or you think we should all be required to buy a copy of former gov. Palin's newest work of fiction.

    November 15, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  21. Barry In Las Vegas

    Sure they substancially met their deadline. Just like they produced 1 million jobs.

    Can't Obama's mouth pieces be honest about anything.

    November 15, 2009 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  22. GOP sucks!

    SocialismBad your premises are equivalent of saying " adog has four legs and John has four legs therefore John is a dog" . Thats amistake most Republicans do!. one thing you guys hate facts and you know why? because you get your news from fox which is ran like the tabloids oops they belong to the same angry old man!

    November 15, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  23. Biased

    Well it seems between moving them to New York, and now apparently perhaps buying a prison just north of Chicago where some of them might possibly be housed, I guess they can close Gitmo on time . Wonder how Chicago likes the idea of having their backyard become the new Gitmo North?

    November 15, 2009 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  24. avahome

    I don't live in New York........but boy howdy the newspapers are gonna make some money over this trial. People are hungry for information. I myself am curious as to what information will become public.

    November 15, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  25. jd

    @nick, you're right, the term War on Terror is a pointless, vague term, that was good for talking points. It should instead be called the "war on al Qaeda and the states that provide them material support" . Is that specific enough for you?

    November 15, 2009 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
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