[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/americas/09/27/cuba.guantanamo.closure/art.gates.king.cnn.jpg caption="Defense Secretary Robert Gates said it may take longer than expected to close Guantanamo prison."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates acknowledges that closing the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will likely take longer than planned.
"I think it has proven more complicated than ... anticipated," Gates said in an interview broadcast Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union."
Noting he had pushed for a firm deadline of closing the controversial facility in January 2010, Gates said: "If you have to extend that date, if at least you have a strong plan showing you're making progress in that direction, then this - it shouldn't be a problem to extend it and we'll just see whether that has to happen or not."
In a separate interview on the ABC program "This Week," Gates said closing the military prison on schedule would be "tough."
Also on ABC, Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said he attended briefings in which he was told the Guantanamo facility was unlikely to close on schedule.
"Apparently they're certainly not going to make that deadline," McCain said. "But we should continue to work towards the closure of Guantanamo Bay because of the image that it has in the world of brutality, (which) harms our image very badly."