Gitmo May Not Be Closed by January

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 26, 2009 6:42 AM CDT
The sun rises over Guantanamo detention facility, at the U.S. Naval Base, in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Nov. 19, 2008.    (Brennan Linsley)

(Newser) – The White House acknowledged for the first time yesterday that President Obama may not be able to meet his stated goal of closing the much-criticized Guantanamo Bay prison by January. Daunting legal and logistical hurdles remain to moving the more than 220 detainees still there: completing reviews of each detainee's case, establishing a new set of rules for military trials, finding a location for a new prison to house detainees, and finding host countries for those who can be released.

After a lengthy process of consolidating files on each prisoner, prosecutors have concluded their initial review of the detainees and recommended to the Justice Department those who appear eligible for prosecution, administration officials tell the AP. Justice and the Pentagon will now work together to determine which prisoners should be tried in military courts and which in civilian ones. Congress has denied Obama funds to shut down Guantanamo until a detailed plan is offered.