July 20th, 2009
09:37 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama administration delays Guantanamo report

WASHINGTON (CNN) - In a move already drawing fire from liberal activists, aides to President Barack Obama acknowledged the administration will miss its own Tuesday deadline to submit a repor detailing its policy on detaining terror suspects.

The report is a key part of laying out the White House's plan for shutting down the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay.

In a briefing for reporters, four senior administration officials confirmed the task force dealing with detention policy has been granted a six-month extension to flesh out its plans, while a separate task force dealing with interrogation policy has been given a two-month extension to submit its own report to the president. The reports had been mandated to be completed this week by executive orders the president signed during his first week in office.

Despite the delays, the four senior officials insisted the Obama administration is making strong progress in resolving the thorny legal issues surrounding the 240 terror suspects that were detained at Guantanamo as of January of this year, and is still on track to shut the prison down next January as spelled out by executive order.

"I think we're all comfortable with where we are in the process," one senior administration official said of shutting the controversial prison.

A second senior administration official said it is the administration's "goal" to still shut the prison. When pressed by reporters on whether this was a softening of the promise to actually close the prison down, this official insisted there has been no change and the administration is still planning to comply with the executive order.

This second official downplayed the delays in finishing the reports. "We wanted to get this right," said the official. "We wanted to do this carefully."

But officials at the American Civil Liberties Union criticized the delay in the release of the report on detainee policy in particular, noting Obama officials have also left the door open to holding some Guantanamo detainees indefinitely without charge or trial.

"The Obama administration must not slip into the same legal swamp that engulfed the Bush administration with its failed Guantanamo policies," said Anthony Romero, the ACLU's executive director. "Any effort to revamp the failed Guantanamo military commissions or enact a law to give any president the power to hold individuals indefinitely and without charge or trial is sure to be challenged in court and it will take years before justice is served."

Romero added, "The only way to make good on President Obama's promise to shut down Guantanamo and end the military commissions is to charge and try the detainees in established federal criminal courts. Any effort to do otherwise will doom the Obama administration to lengthy litigation. A promise deferred could soon become a promise broken."

But a third senior administration official insisted the White House is making good progress in dealing with all the terror suspects being held at Guantanamo. This third official told reporters the administration is "over halfway through reviewing the detainees at Guantanamo" by either transferring them to other countries or moving toward putting them on trial for prosecution.

This third official said that "substantially more than 50" of the detainees are prepared for transfer, while a "significant number" are being prepared for prosecution.

A fourth senior administration official said the White House is making "great progress" in getting European countries like Italy to publicly agree to take on some detainees. The official said other European countries have privately agreed to take detainees, but will not publicly discuss it yet.

"In the weeks and months ahead we will build on that strong foundation," said the official.

Filed under: Guantanamo Bay • President Obama
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. stormerF

    Why is this a surprise,the White House also missed their deadline to cut 100million from the budget also.Stupid is as Stupid does.Mis read the Economy, mis Read the Job losses(unemployement).Misread the cost of Bailout for the Auto industry,misread the cost of Flying all over the frickin world making speeches,blaming America for the worlds problems.

    July 20, 2009 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  2. jumbo

    send them to san francisco

    July 20, 2009 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  3. rachel

    What's up with that president barack ?

    July 20, 2009 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  4. Rob

    That's because they have been too busy drueling over Health Care and all the money they could possibly get their greedy little hands on.

    July 20, 2009 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  5. susie

    Maybe if Obama stayed in Washington instead of traveling all the time he would get some work done.

    July 20, 2009 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  6. Really!?

    Is this like the transparency website the White House was going to develop. The latest report on that is it will be running in 2011. Just another failed move.

    July 20, 2009 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  7. Mike TX

    Anyone else think Obama is in over his head? The only things he can get done according to his timeline are the ones (stimulus, potentially healthcare) that his scare tactics have herded his sheeple where he wants them.

    And when will the government wake up and boot the ACLU to leftist South America where it belongs?

    July 20, 2009 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  8. Dave in Illinois

    It's a sign of inexperience and bowing to political expediency that the President announced closing of Guantanamo without having any real plan how to accomplish it. Cap and Trade and Health Care suffer from the same flaws.

    Obama has no real plans nor any political backbone. He only has the belief that , like the Pharoah in the Ten Commandments movie, all he has to do is say it will be done.

    July 20, 2009 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  9. Greg

    Obama and (his puppet) Pelosi are hell bent on pushing through nat'l health care coverage by the fall break but the Administration is willing to take 6 more months to better understand how to handle Guantanamo's enemies of the state who have dedicated their lives to destroying American insterests and citizen lives.

    Are the priorities in the right order here? I think not!!

    July 20, 2009 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  10. joseph(yes im black)

    In the area shes running in with all those "northeastern democratics" (which is a code word for closet racist). this might even help her.
    can't to see obama check her for this.

    July 20, 2009 10:13 pm at 10:13 pm |
  11. Jon

    I'm going to resist the urge to say "told you so" regarding the time table for closing Gitmo and applaud President Obama for doing the right thing here in terms of taking extra time to ensure the correct decisions are made in the interests of national security. This of course flies directly in the face of doing the politically correct thing of closing Gitmo regardless of the situation. This is something which lunatics like Pelosi, Reid and Frank would want to see happen no matter what the outcome.

    July 20, 2009 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  12. Nini

    Hypocrite = Obama administration

    July 20, 2009 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  13. Paula

    How anyone can support this empty suit is beyond me. You would have to be brain dead to still support the community organizer. I don't think he ever passed that test back then because he is the most disorganized we have seen in years and years.
    Go back to Chicago and take dead fish back with you.

    July 20, 2009 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  14. Frank

    I'd rather see them get it right than get it fast.

    July 20, 2009 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  15. Capt. SNarKy

    What? A delay? No, that cannot be, cuz he's got a DEADLINE. Hours are clicking by, days are slipping away. And with every tick of the second hand, he's finding easier and easier to live in G.W.'s shoes, isn't he???????

    July 20, 2009 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  16. Barbara J Davis

    Oh REALLY........who didn't see this coming when he promised it!!
    Seal Beach, CA

    July 20, 2009 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  17. RR

    This what you get with an adminiatration that decides to close Gitmo before coming up with a plan on how to do it!

    cart before the horse, anyone?

    July 20, 2009 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  18. Susie

    Wow – ANOTHER NOBAMA SHOW!!!!! We Will bring our troops home – we will close Guantanoma – we will end war – we will – we will - WELL – Do NOTHING PRES --
    The only thing you do is show off, fly on vacatons, travel with your/wife/childrens/ NEW Wardrobes!!! What the hECK are you doing to US. The TAXpayers. We are not all black you know – some of us have worked for our livings!!!

    July 20, 2009 11:09 pm at 11:09 pm |
  19. Zero.

    Delay what? How? It is not his place to interfere. What happens in Vagas, stays in Vagas. When he wants to tell the truth about his own background. The World will listen. Iraq was inevitable. When do you stop this crap. Sadam Hussain would hafve stired up half of the Middle East , before give in to you. Jorden (Idiot King) was ready to join forces with him. Does anybody know anything in the USA about the middle East. Maybe you need a few lessons from Europe...

    July 20, 2009 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  20. dan, MI

    Lack of experience. He has nothing in his portfolio and his czars do not know what to do except to waste our tax-payers money.

    July 20, 2009 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  21. renea

    I dare someone to complain about the delay when some of you complainers are saying he is doing too much now anyway.

    July 20, 2009 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  22. Chris

    Yea – it’s just a little easier to criticize than to actually govern – there's a lesson in there somewhere for all the libs out there – but I'm sure it will be lost since they all have their heads in the sand now that their Messiah is in office.

    July 20, 2009 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  23. enoughalready

    Smoke amd mirrors , Smoke and mirrors

    July 21, 2009 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  24. Kevin Morgan

    Snip- ""The Obama administration must not slip into the same legal swamp that engulfed the Bush administration with its failed Guantanamo policies," said Anthony Romero, the ACLU's executive director."

    Sorry, but he was thrown into this legal swamp as soon as he became president. He inherited Bush's swamp. The rest of the ACLU's position on this I agree with.

    July 21, 2009 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  25. bsmith171

    there never was a plan. this was all campaign cajtter.

    nothing more, nothing less.
    put AXELROD in GITMO.
    they fly in kosher meals daily from MIAMI.

    July 21, 2009 01:15 am at 1:15 am |