Having campaigned on closing Gitmo and on his first day in office signing an executive order to close it within the year, Obama has been steadily emptying the detention center, often in dubious deals and scandalous, logic-defying swaps.  This is something that he has been determined to accomplish while in office, and with time running out, he has today proposed a new plan to close Gitmo for good.

Speaking somewhat uncomfortably about American values (as he always does), Obama laid out his reasoning behind and plan for closing Gitmo within the year.

CNN reports:

Obama outlined a blueprint that involves transferring the bulk of remaining detainees to other countries and moving the rest — who can’t be transferred abroad because they’re deemed too dangerous — to an as-yet-undetermined detention facility in the United States.

The blueprint comes seven years after Obama made an Oval Office vow to permanently shutter the prison for enemy combatants, but it already faces objections from Republicans and legal obstacles they have placed to transferring Guantanamo detainees to U.S. prisons.

Obama nonetheless said emptying the prison would move the country past what he described as a troubled era of wartime behavior.

“The plan we’re putting forward today isn’t just about closing the facility at Guantanamo. It’s not just about dealing with the current group of detainees, which is a complex piece of business because of the manner in which they were originally apprehended and what happened. This is about closing a chapter in our history,” he said during short remarks at the White House.

“Keeping this facility open is contrary to our values,” Obama said. “It undermines our standing in the world. It is viewed as a stain on our broader record of upholding the highest standards of rule of law.”

The disturbing aspect of this new plan is that he intends to transfer the most dangerous of the remaining terrorists to the United States.
CNN continues:

Obama outlined a blueprint that involves transferring the bulk of remaining detainees to other countries and moving the rest — who can’t be transferred abroad because they’re deemed too dangerous — to an as-yet-undetermined detention facility in the United States.

. . . .  Options for housing prisoners in the U.S. include the federal Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado; the military prison in Leavenworth, Kansas; and the Naval Consolidated Brig in Charleston, South Carolina. Pentagon officials visited those sites last year to develop “prototype” plans for converting them into detention facilities.

The additional sites included in Tuesday’s plan include other federal and military prisons. The closure plan does not identify a specific facility, though congressional language mandating the plan called for a location to be specified.

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If this sounds familiar, it should.  Obama planned on moving the most dangerous Gitmo terrorists to the U. S. in 2009; however, public opposition and bipartisan pushback ensured that it didn’t—and won’t—happen.
The response from the Congressional leaders to today’s proposal has been swift and strong.

The Hill reports:

The administration would plan to transfer 35 of the remaining 91 detainees who are deemed to pose a low security risk overseas. Between 30 and 60 of the remaining detainees would eventually be housed in a new facility on the U.S. mainland.

But Congress has banned Gitmo detainees from being transferred to the United States. Republican leaders in both chambers have been dead set against changing the law, especially in an election year, when concerns about terrorism are front and center on voters’ minds.

“His proposal fails to provide taxpayers with critical details required by law, including the exact cost and location of an alternate detention facility,” Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said in a statement moments after Obama spoke.

“It is against the law — and it will stay against the law — to transfer terrorist detainees to American soil. We will not jeopardize our national security over a campaign promise.”

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor to offer a response to Obama’s latest proposal to close Gitmo.

The Daily Caller reports:

Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says “it would be illegal under current law to transfer foreign terrorists at Guantanamo into the United States.”

Speaking on the floor of the Senate on Tuesday, McConnell argued that “President Obama seems to remain captured on one matter by a campaign promise he made way back in 2008” that he would close Guantanamo Bay.

McConnell argued that it is an “ill-considered crusade to close the security detention facility at Guantanamo. Today we received the descriptions of where the president would like to detain terrorists within the United States, though not any actual proposed locations, despite the fact that it would be illegal under current law to transfer foreign terrorists at Guantanamo into the United States.”

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