President Obama announces plans to close Guantanamo Bay
February 23, 2016 at 5:51 am
President Obama announced his plans to close the controversial Guantanamo Bay prison facility on Tuesday morning. Since his election in 2008, Obama has made the closing of the Cuban detention center a long-term goal of his administration, much to the chagrin of his political opponents.
The President, with the support of the Pentagon, plans to transfer the remaining 91 detainees back to their home countries, or to United States military or civilian prisons. Guantanamo Bay costs $445 million dollars a year to operate, and has become a “symbol of excesses following the attacks of September 11th, 2001.” The prison has become synonymous with brutal reports of torture and for keeping prisoners indefinitely without trials.
While supporters of the President are eager to see this plan approved, the proposal will require the consent of Congress in order to move forward, which will prove difficult. In addition to requiring a change in current laws that prohibit the use of money to bring detainees to the United States, Senators are already coming forward with concerns. Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire made a statement Monday condemning the proposal, saying that, “[t]he American people have a right to expect that the administration will be transparent and honest with them about the activities and associations of the terrorists who remain at Guantanamo…The administration’s refusal to do so only underscores the fact that closing Guantanamo will make Americans less safe.”
However, the Obama Administration is ready for the opposition. A senior administration official acknowledged the uphill battle ahead, but told reporters that “To think that we can’t hold 30 to 60 people in a DOD facility securely, we don’t accept that premise.”