March 9th, 2009
06:45 PM ET
14 years ago

Top Obama officials meet to consider Gitmo detainees

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Led by Attorney General Eric Holder, the Obama administration's task force on Guantanamo Bay met Monday in Washington."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Attorney General Eric Holder on Monday called together several top administration officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Robert Gates, to consider what to do with the detainees held at the Guantanamo Bay military prison.

The unannounced meeting of the Guantanamo Bay Detainee Review Task Force was convened at the Justice Department.

It also included Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair, CIA Director Leon Panetta, FBI Director Robert Mueller, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen, White House Counsel Gregory Craig, and Department of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Randy Beers, representing DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano.

"As coordinator of the task force, the attorney general discussed with his counterparts the process that will be used for carrying out the president's order mandating a review of all Guantanamo Bay detainees and closure of the Guantanamo Bay detention facility within a year," said a statement issued by the Justice Department.

"They also discussed standards for detainee review, factors that will be considered in prioritizing detainee reviews, and progress that has been achieved thus far," the statement said.

The meeting on the complex and politically sensitive issue was chaired by Holder, and included his executive director of the task force, Justice Department counterterrorism chief Matthew Olsen.

Holder traveled to Guantanamo Bay two weeks ago to tour the facility, and returned saying the prisoners were being treated well, and he was "impressed by the professionalism" of the prison staff personnel. Holder also stressed how difficult the process would be to sort out the remaining 240-plus prisoners. He said he expected the review process to take much of the year, but added he was committed to keeping the president's promise that the facility would be closed by next January.

soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. 2young2vote-OR

    Ok, I don't mind the fact their detained, but they shouldn't be tortured, unless the have solid proof of terrorist acts and if it's a time bomb situation

    March 9, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  2. kayla

    i heard the prisoners in guantanamo live better than most americans. they have health and dental insurance.

    March 9, 2009 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  3. Jon in CA

    LOL – Obama closes Gitmo without knowing what to do with the terrorists.... and the countries of origin won't take them back.

    Ready- shoot- aim!!

    Obama = bumbling idiot

    March 9, 2009 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  4. Ray Fisher

    How about the prison holding Noreiga??? Isn't it secure enough for terrorists??? Prisons are one thing America has plenty of, next to criminals!!!

    March 9, 2009 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  5. Buster

    One consideration for Gitmo should be the interrogation of the past administration and their Wall street buddies.

    March 9, 2009 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  6. Eric

    What is there to "consider"? Bring them to trial already. Guilty? Sentence them. Innocent? Ship them out of the country. This is not that difficult. Or should we simply detain them for another 7 years and ignore the situation?

    March 9, 2009 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  7. Steph

    It is sad to see just how many of the previous administration's messes President Obama and his cabinet have to clean up.

    March 9, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  8. mother of a soldier

    Please remember 9/11 is the product of Bill Clinton deporting Kahlil Sheik Mohammed. His first attempt at the Trade Center failed but his return home produced a plan of incredible magnitude. Imprisonment won't alter these fanatics mission. It is an incredible slap in the face to the men who died fighting these jihadists.

    March 9, 2009 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  9. Joe Regis

    Guantanamo Bay should have been closed yesterday. This dark chapter of our history is not worthy of our ideal republican and democratic values.

    March 9, 2009 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  10. Solana

    Let me think...... Oh yeah why not leave them in Guantanamo Bay, you know the place they created for these prisoners. I should be paid for this.

    March 9, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  11. Texas Teacher

    This is one of the worst problems that the Bush Administration has left us for sure. I am sure that the Obama administration will be able to straighten it out... but I doubt if it will be done immediately. Too big a mess.... Bush/Cheney took us back to the dark ages on that one!

    March 9, 2009 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  12. ib

    This does not surprised me at all. this president cares more about people who are trying to kill Americans than he does Americans. Gitmo should not be closed. Maybe when and I don't think it is an if it is when we are attacked again on our home soil maybe people will wake up and realize what is going on. This president is lost; I thought Bush was bad this guy is going to be as bad or worse.

    March 9, 2009 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  13. James Warren

    It is shocking that Eric Holder, who was the single failure point for facilitating the pardon of a major white collar criminal and fugitive from justice in the last days of the Clinton administration, is now the person who has the responsibility of sorting out the 240 most heinous terrorists in detention. We can only hope that Mr. Holder has learned a lesson and uses something other than his own discretion to make his decision. If he does his duty and conducts himself with the same professionalism as the military personnel in Guantanamo Bay (that he seems to be so impressed by), then perhaps the current detainies will get a fair trial and justice will be served. We can only hope, pray, and hold Mr. Holder accountable for his decisions.

    March 9, 2009 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  14. Carmine Abbattiello

    One more Bush mess that President Obama will clean up. The difference between the two administrations is like day (Obama) and night (Bush).

    March 9, 2009 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  15. lady in the know

    Why don't they just sit down with them, all hold hands in a big circle and sing Kum-by-ya? That seems to be the policy of this administration with all our other enemies in the world. I'm ever so sure these people can be trusted, right? Let's just let them go. Maybe they can get some pointers from the illegals crossing the borders on how to "fit in" and get all the bennies this country has to offer. If you got guns, hide them. If you don't, buy them...and get ready.

    March 9, 2009 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  16. Mark, B'ham., Al.

    I still think they need to move them to a new facility they should build on Martha's Vineyard, Catalina Island, or rebuild Alcatraz so they are on an island like Gitmo is ot protect American Citizens which is more important than their comfort. They are not combat soldiers who deserve Geneva Convention protection, they are the same as sabators.

    March 9, 2009 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  17. Sue

    What to do with Gitmo detainees... hmmm...
    just put an implant chip in them and let them go back to their countries, because they are certainly going to be terrorists now since we basically turned them into ones.

    March 9, 2009 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |