September 26th, 2009
10:43 AM ET
13 years ago

Officials: Guantanamo prison unlikely to close by January 2010

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The U.S. military prison at Guantanamo in Cuba is unlikely to close by the Obama administration's deadline of January 2010, two senior administration officials say."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The U.S. military prison at Guantanamo is unlikely to close by the Obama administration's deadline of January 2010, two senior administration officials said late Friday.

They cited legal complications for the delay, but said they were still optimistic about shutting the facility soon.

The announcement represents a blow to the president, who signed an executive order with great fanfare in January, during his first week in office, setting the deadline to close the facility.

The delay may provide fodder for Republicans like former Vice President Dick Cheney, who has argued that shutting the prison would make the United States less safe. He said Obama should have had a detailed plan in place before signing the order.

In a written statement, U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky noted the announcement, and said, "even White House officials are now acknowledging that there is still no alternative that will keep Americans as safe as housing detainees at that secure facility off our shores.

"Americans and a bipartisan majority in Congress will continue to reject
any effort to close Guantanamo until there is a plan that keeps Americans as safe or safer than keeping detainees in the secure detention center."

The senior administration officials insisted the White House is making progress in finding third-party countries to accept the remaining detainees.

Filed under: Guantanamo
soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Willy Brown

    Ain’t ever going to close liberals. This prison is no bound by the US constitution. It was just another Obummer lie to get the ewes to vote for him.

    September 26, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  2. Jesus Christ the Son of God Against StOoPiD Dumb Ass Republicans

    Hold on a second. Not too fast. When is Jarge DUH-hub-a-yuh Bahoooosh and Kaching$$$$$ Chain Gang Ch-Cheney going to stand trila for for all of their lies to Congress and the American people and the UN and the whole world about Iraq and WMD?? Plus, we need to make sure that every Republican congressman who fights against universal health care gets stripped of their health care access and gets life in GITMO for crimes against humanity.

    My name is Jesus and I approve this truthful message.

    September 26, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  3. A Democrat of 51 years who has finally got smart to their foolishness.

    Well you dang Liberals have had your way. Now we'll just have more terriost running the streets of America. I guess you'll be satisfied when the Eagle has fallen instead of landed.

    September 26, 2009 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  4. grahame

    I'm sure that the Republican worm Glen Beck will have something to say.
    Anybody who listens to Beck anyway has the intellect and intelligence of a potato.

    September 26, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  5. ran

    The President trying to do the right thing and the Republicans finding a way to show their hate/fear/obstructionism again.

    It will be closed at some point. Maybe if The Republicans had taken the time to properly analyze the situation in 2001 we never would be were we are now.

    September 26, 2009 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  6. Stu

    One of Obama's benchmark failures will be his foolish closing of GITMO and allowing terrorists back into the world.

    September 26, 2009 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  7. BILL, WI

    Legal complications?? I would like to know what those are. What is the status of the detainees that are still in held in Gitmo, are they prisoners of war or criminals? If they are prisoners of war just release them wherever they want to live.

    September 26, 2009 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  8. Sue

    Another Blah Blah Blah Blah Blah by the ??????wonder boy????????

    September 26, 2009 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  9. Melissa

    Its not a surprise. The problem is finding housing. Most country's don't want these people on their land, and the US is no exception.

    September 26, 2009 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  10. Right Leaning Independent

    Reality collides with wishful thinking!! Obama is finding life harder in the real world compared to his arm chair quarterbacking job he used to have. Some will say, no matter, he will close it eventually. Lets see what you say another year from now when it is still open..

    September 26, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  11. Doug

    The problem is always the same in Washington, if they are for it, I must be against it. Instead of any real discussion on merits of decisionmaking, we get Policy Change, not supported by facts. If we do not Change our national focus soon on politics, we will be another lost nation of the world. The focus should be on rebuilding our country first. Job creation and a stronger national economy, not the international country kicking contests.

    September 26, 2009 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  12. victim of republican greed

    Mitch, you should know that Guantanamo has nothing to do with keeping Americans safe. Keeping it open is a good recruiting tool for terrorists, though.

    September 26, 2009 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  13. Clint

    If shutting Guantanamo woukd make the United States less safe, then we should keep it open and put Cheney, Bush and the rest of them there and then the United States would be safe again.

    September 26, 2009 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  14. jules sand-perkins

    The prison at Guantanamo is a good thing. It always was.
    Keep it open as long as it's to our benefit, and keep up the good work.

    September 26, 2009 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  15. victim of republican greed

    As long as there are obstructionists trying to put a stop to this, it may take awhile. However, I am confident that it will happen and we can put an end to the final chapter on the dark days of the last administration's torture program.

    September 26, 2009 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  16. Chuck

    I can't see anything wrong with keeping those prisoners there in Cuba.
    We sure don't need them here in the United States. Most of them should have been "Double Shot" upon their capture. Then we wouldn't be having this problem.

    September 26, 2009 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  17. ThinkAgain

    And when it does close and the prisioners there are transferred to Maximum Security prisons in the U.S., I will NOT lose one wink of sleep about it.

    It would also be nice if these "enemy combatants" were all actually charged with something ... holding a person who's innocent until proven guilty goes against everything our country stands for and is more in line with a Soviety Gulag or military dictatorship.

    September 26, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  18. Rose

    No big surprise here. Everything Obama does is hurried. He had no plan when he signed the order and this is just the start of his errors.
    The stimulus was his second mistake, too much pork, what happened to him reading every line to make sure there were no earmarks, we all know how that turned out. Now the health care issue, another dud. What is the rush, it seems to me he should be more concerned about JOBS. How can people pay premiums without an income. His priorities are all turned around. Leave Global warning alone for now. He wants it all done within his first year so he can gloat but we the taxpayers are the ones who will suffer just so he can say "Hooray for me".

    September 26, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  19. America Shrugged

    All those responsible for WTC 93 are all serving life sentences in Federal Pens on US soil. To say our maximum security prisons cannot keep these prisoners in check and our country and it's people safe is baloney.

    September 26, 2009 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. ThinkAgain

    Perhaps the real threat of these prisoners is that if they went through our judicial process – in particular, actually be charged with something and not just held on suspicion – the Republicans would have to be held account for false imprisonment.

    Rounding people up and throwing them in jail is something that dictators and despots do.

    We are the United States of America, governed by the Constitution. We are a better nation than that. Gitmo was established outside our borders for the sole reason of skirting our laws.

    Bush, Cheney and all those who support this prison should be ashamed of themselves! Your lack of faith in our judicial and prison system is pathetic!

    September 26, 2009 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  21. Robin

    It is not going to close, and it should not close. Do you libs really want these people that hate us and would behead your children in front of you in this country?

    September 26, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  22. ThinkAgain

    I have a question to everyone here posting who supports keeping Gitmo open: How would you like it if you were traveling in another country and you were picked up and thrown in prison simply because you fit the profile of an American?

    Never charged with a crime ... held outside the borders of the country that imprisoned you so that you were not under the jurisdiction of that country's laws ... sent to a prison that the country declared was beyond the reach of the Geneva Convention ... never allowed to see a lawyer or contact family and friends about your fate ...

    Maybe you were a criminal, maybe you were just an American in the wrong place at the wrong time ...

    Would you say to yourself you were a victim of injustice, or would you think, Hey, it's cool! The country who threw me in prison is just trying to protect itself.

    September 26, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  23. JoeCool

    Another lie Obozo told during the campaign. He will close Gitmo.

    September 26, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  24. victim of republican greed

    I am not sure how closing Gitmo will have, ". . .more terriost(sic) running the streets of America." But, rest assured, Glenn Beck will be sure to tell us. Although, I have seen some footage of a bunch of Tim McVeigh clones at Fox entertainment's tea parties.

    September 26, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. Barry In Las Vegas

    This is another example of a President and administration acting before thinking – just like the legislation they have passed – without reading it.

    Well all of the pinkos are really going to be mad at Obama for not keeping his promise but America is going to be safer – at least for a little while longer.

    September 26, 2009 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
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