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. LacrosseMom(stuck in moderation)

    Its a shame that the history of our Nation will now have the blemish of Guantanamo. Just like the Nixon Soap-Opera, and failure; the Iran/Contra and training and arming of the Taliban by Reagan, have gone down in history as blemishes on our Nation, so will the Bush Regime's failure in their wars against terrorism!

    Waterboarding was outlawed in the 1800's in the U.S.

    The U.S. was one of the authors and signers of the Geneva Convention, which protects POW's from torture and other hideous treatment. And the Bush Regime ignored both Constitutional Law, which they swore to uphold and protect, as well as International Law!

    WHY are Bush & DICK not being dragged to the Hauge?

    September 26, 2009 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  2. what will it take to recover from Bush?

    Bush made so many bad choices and took so many illegal short cuts, correcting Bush/Cheney bad policies will take a long time

    September 26, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  3. philippe

    surprise, surprise....yet another one of the Pied Piper's 500+ promises he won't be able to keep.

    Overpromised and underperforming!!

    September 26, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  4. Bpin

    Yet another campaign promise broken by BHO. He is really on a roll as far as not living up to what he said he was going to do. Last term, we had Bush that was one of the biggest do nothing Presidents we have ever had, but at least he did not make bold promises. Now we have BHO, the rock star who thinks his charisma means everything and his lack of results is not important. Bush spent money wildly with no descretion. BHO complains about that constantly, and he has spent 3 times as much is his first 8 months. Geez, we are going down the tube.

    September 26, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. Ken in NC

    I'm so angry at the Party of "NO" I am tempted to say Gitmo should say open because we need a place to put them but I will be nice and keep that thought to myself.

    September 26, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |

    I'm not entirely sure I get this argument that "the delay may provide fodder for Republicans like former Vice President Dick Cheney," as if the inability to close Gitmo reflects well on Republicans or the former VP Dick Cheney.

    Isn't one of the major problems that many of the interrogations of Gitmo detainees, interrogations conducted under direction from the Bush White House, were so FOWLED UP because of the bad direction of Bush administration legal counsel, that the detainees can't be put on trial or go before a court at all?

    If so, are Republicans and the former VP Dick Cheney taking credit for having CREATED the problem?

    September 26, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  7. eolufemi

    If states aren't willing to cooperate, what's President Obama supposed to do?

    The republicans keep lying to their gullible constituents about the danger posed by terrorists being incarcerated on US soil. As if, we don't have OTHER terrorists already in US prisons.

    This is simply a political battle that republicans are waging because its one of the few issues they can actually win on from a minority opinion. Merely by scaring the people who in turn get their local officials to avoid dealing with the matter altogether. I say put them on a prison ship just off the coast and leave it at that.

    September 26, 2009 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  8. lieNoMore

    Incredible!! this is bureaucracy totally out of control. Like other Kafkaesque nightmares government officials, phony-legalists, and red tape can keep concentration camps open ad infinitum. This kind of non-sense can make the survivalists and anti-government crazies start to seem correct.

    Of course, no one wants to see those who are truly dangerous out, but the majority of people sent to this camp were never proven to be terrorists and those that are should be tried and convicted and that is it.

    Sure idiot apparatchiks like Dick(weed) Cheney want to keep it open to justify themselves –people like him who trample on our Constitution and its values– would be right at home in the old Soviet USSR.

    September 26, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  9. casper

    is guantaunmo is a privateiy run prison; and if so dick cheney is a heavy investor and pt owner of these types of facilities.. is this why mitch mcconell is so dead set against closing of these places. can we follow a paper trail, that will led to heavy PAC money[s] going in his coffer's like the rest of the folks. repiblicans like boehener, palin, etc. that bank this type of money in accounts so that their "kids and grand kids don't have to live like "US"[ po] folk do. and hey boehener "how does it feel" to be on golf courses for the exclusive, and the rich and the haves and have-mores? plus having some of the best health care the people of the united states have to offer scott-free? it must be nice

    September 26, 2009 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  10. Don

    Make sure you can walk before you can talk.
    Talk, talk, will get you elected, but now we look if you can walk, walk, walk.

    September 26, 2009 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  11. Helen, NY

    Barack Obama is a loon. He does not know how to manage it. He wants to please his liberal voters by closing down gitmo. However he can just talk, he doesnot know how to do it.
    Yesterday he disclosed about Iranian nuclear site but this site was there since last year. Why did he keep silent. Joker.

    September 26, 2009 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  12. Gerry

    Making promisses without a plan just dosen't always. Should'nt make them if you don't know what you are doing.

    September 26, 2009 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  13. Stu

    Dealing with terrorists is NOT something for our courts to do. It is a military/intelligence function. The "innocent until proven guilty" is fine for common crimes, such a theft, burglary, assaults. Terrorism is a different matter. Locking terrorists up in our prisons only gives them a captive audience of anti-social thugs who are already susceptible to their persuasion; most of those thugs will eventually re-enter our society. Too many of you don't have a clue about terrorism and how those people think and what they are willing to do.

    September 26, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  14. Dennis

    Obama is the Best President Ever.

    Bush Ruined and Bankrupted America.

    September 26, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  15. Greg, PA

    Oh that's rich – Dick Cheney criticizing someone for not having a detailed plan in place before taking action.

    September 26, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  16. Biased

    Maybe this might show Obama the wisdom of not making promises he cannot keep. It is just like the other democrats who told the American people if they got the majorty in the House and Senate in the last midterms, they would bring ALL the troops home from Iraq by December 2008. We see how that broken promise worked so well.

    September 26, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  17. William

    Once we have processed all existing detainees and placed them in alternative locations it might be a good idea to keep Gitmo open. We will need a place for all the Acorn criminals.

    September 26, 2009 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  18. alex african man from congo

    i don't know why obama is feeling sorry for the terrorists,those people when they carry out attacks ,they don't care about inoncents,obama if you are not careful, you are going to make this world less safe.despite you want improve usa image, the terrorists will never embrace your policy,if they get opportunity to attack, they can't delay even one munite,let them face what they deserve .

    September 26, 2009 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  19. holding a person who's innocent until proven guilty

    I don't give a hoot about holding these guys until proven guilty... their whole group is designed with getting around our system while inflicting damage to our populace.

    I think the other alternative is taking no prisoners at all or getting information from them and then shooting them, I'm ok with that as well, they do not represent any form of civilization, goodness from believing in a god or anything that makes them deserve better

    September 26, 2009 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  20. The new GOP party of NO, racism, and hate is emerging and least you Rightwing NUTS forget, Bush had 47 Czars

    GW Bush created the mess called Guantanamo; and even Karl Rove admitted that Bush didn't understand the legal implications for creating it...just the same war the GW White House manufactured a legal torture memo to warterboard t e r r o r i s t; so in essence GW created this disastrous mess, along with a failed economy and an unfinished war in Afghanistan....GW Bush is now back at home writing memoir to document how "intelligent" he was in creating a failed state called U.S of A....But the right Wing Nuts and Republiklans blowhard will like to dump everything on President Obama; who is actually trying to fix the mess they created.....but the American people are smarter than them and how their warped brain thinks!!!!!

    September 26, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  21. Simmy

    Just like everything the President has tried to do more another obstacle.....Keep on moving Mr. President, you will prevail despite them.

    September 26, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  22. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    As long as the USA has Gitmo and its secret torture prisons, we are no better than those we vilify.... It used to be that the USA took the moral high ground, but no more.

    I find this all very very sad.

    September 26, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  23. Former Army

    Neither the Constitution of the United States nor the Geneva Convention gives rights to terrorist who operate out side the law.
    The only reason "keeping it open is a good recruiting tool for terrorists" is because of dumb reports of abuse from the libs.

    September 26, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  24. Jon Krieger

    Obama bin laden knew that he wasn't going to be able to close gitmo!He was hoping to gain more popularity by bashing bush some more!

    September 26, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  25. Jenny

    Why am I not surprised by another broken promise from Obama?

    September 26, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
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