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Friday, January 29, 2010

Obama faces dwindling options in his effort to close Guantanamo Bay


The closure of the military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is beginning to look like a protracted and uncertain project for the Obama administration as political, legal and security concerns limit the president's options.

Having blown the one-year closure deadline set last January in an executive order, the administration is planning to transfer some detainees to a state prison it hopes to acquire in Illinois. But there appears to be little mood in Congress to provide the administration with either the funding for the prison or the authority to transfer detainees who will be held indefinitely.

At the same time, opposition is building to plans to transfer a number of detainees, including Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, to a civilian court in Lower Manhattan for federal trial.

"My hope is that the attorney general and the president decide to change their mind," New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said this week, after having welcomed the choice of venue in November.

Facing rising local concern about disruption to life in the city, and with some estimates of security costs touching $1 billion, Bloomberg said an alternative proposal to hold a trial on a military base is a "reasonably good one."

Read more at The Washington Post

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