Obama Mulls Veto to Shut Guantanamo

Officials: Obama weighing options to move detainees to US
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 10, 2014 11:32 AM CDT
Obama Mulls Veto to Shut Guantanamo
This June 7, 2014, file photo shows the entrance to Camp 5 and Camp 6 at the US military's Guantanamo Bay detention center at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba.   (AP Photo/Ben Fox, File)

President Obama is considering overriding a congressional ban on bringing Guantanamo prisoners to the US in an effort to close the Cuban prison, the Wall Street Journal reports. Lawmakers are strongly against the move, which "would ignite a political firestorm, even if it's the best resolution for the Guantanamo problem," a law professor explains. You might recall that a previous use of executive power could soon see the president sued. But White House officials say Obama is "unwavering in his commitment" to move Gitmo's 149 inmates and close the prison's doors, something the president apparently sees as key to his legacy. What will Obama do? Well, he has two options, the Journal points out.

One: He vetoes the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes the ban on transferring detainees to the US, after the midterm elections. Two: He signs the bill but argues the ban infringes on his powers as commander in chief. While officials won't say to which US facilities the prisoners would shift—the Journal reports Charleston's military brig seems likely—Obama will likely lessen the blow by moving some of the 79 detainees cleared for transfer to places outside the US; Estonia, for example, has already agreed to accept one prisoner, and other European countries are willing. That isn't likely to please many, however. The most recent Gallup poll on the issue finds 66% of Americans want Guantanamo to stay open. (More Barack Obama stories.)

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