Gitmo Backlash: From a First Promise to a Last Gasp |

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President Obama’s final push this week to close Guantanamo Bay prison was met with strong backlash on Capitol Hill and across the country. The vague plan sent to Congress—the culmination of his seven-year push to fulfill a lofty campaign promise—was missing critical details and proposed transferring dangerous terrorists to American soil, which is and will stay against the law. Check out some of the latest news clips below:

1. It’s dangerous.

Ryan: Obama’s Gitmo Plan Swaps Security for a Campaign Pledge
“House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said Obama's plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility ‘fails to provide taxpayers with critical details required by law,’ and warned it would be illegal to transfer the 91 remaining prisoners to the United States. . . . Ryan and other Republicans have accused Obama of playing politics with the prison. Obama has been promising to close it since his first campaign for president in 2007.” (Washington Examiner)

Obama’s Gitmo Plan Leaves Everyone Unhappy
“Virtually no one is impressed with President Barack Obama’s latest plan to close Guantanamo Bay—though its lack of specifics might be a relief to the Democrats running to replace him. . . . Legal observers note the White House wouldn’t truly ‘close’ the prison, but rather move people who may need to be detained indefinitely into the United States—to the chagrin of human rights groups.” (POLITICO)

Obama Unveils Plan to Close Guantanamo Bay Detention Facility
“On the same day that Mr. Obama announced his plan, police in Spain and Morocco said they had arrested four suspected members of a jihadi cell that sought to recruit fighters for the Islamic State group, including a former Guantanamo detainee who once fought with militants in Afghanistan.” (Washington Times)

Obama Presents Plan to Close Guantanamo, Move Detainees to the US
”President Obama detailed Tuesday a four-point plan he'll submit to Congress to eventually close the detention facility at Guantanamo, Cuba–a plan that includes releasing more of the remaining 91 detainees, while transferring others to an as-yet determined facility on U.S. soil. Much of the president's plan, which represents a final effort to fulfill his 2008 campaign pledge to close the facility, still must be approved by Congress.” (Fox News)

2. It lacks substance.

Republicans Rebuke Obama for Gitmo Closure Plan
Republican lawmakers sharply criticized the Obama administration’s plan to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility, dismissing it as a ‘vague menu of options’ that fails to recommend any alternative sites in the United States to house terrorist suspects still held at the military-run prison in Cuba.” (Roll Call)

Obama: Guantanamo Bay Undermines Security, Must Be Closed
“Despite the big ambitions, Obama's proposed path remained unclear. The plan leaves unanswered the politically thorny question of where in the U.S a new facility would be located. It offered broad cost estimates. The White House described it as more of a conversation starter than a definitive outline.” (Associated Press)

Obama Gives Congress Guantanamo Closure Plan
“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.” (CNN)

Obama Sends Plan to Close Guantanamo to Congress
“[T]he series of steps that Mr. Obama outlined at the White House were as much an acknowledgement of the constraints binding him during his final year in office as they were a practical blueprint for transferring prisoners.” (New York Times)

3. It’s not going to happen.

Paul Ryan Vows He’ll Take Obama to Court if Gitmo Closes
“Speaker Paul Ryan had a simple message for President Barack Obama on Wednesday: We'll take you to court if you close the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center. . . . House Republicans have already shown a willingness to sue Obama. A judge ruled in September that they had standing to sue the president over his selective implementation of the health care law, and they have open cases on his executive action on immigration and the administration's lack of compliance on subpoenas related to the Fast and Furious’ investigation.” (Huffington Post)

President’s Last-Ditch Guantanamo Plan Falls Flat
“The president made a pledge to close the Guantánamo Bay prison on his first day in office. But barring a miraculous turn of events, the facility will remain open when he leaves the White House next January. . . . But even Obama appeared to recognize that the chances of success are slim, acknowledging, ‘The politics of this are tough.’” (The Hill)

Obama’s Incredibly Shrinking Chance to Close Gitmo
“High-ranking members of the Obama administration have all but ruled out the swiftest path to shuttering Guantanamo: unilateral action. Attorney General Loretta Lynch acknowledged in November that current law bars the detainees from being moved to the United States. And the president's top military generals vowed last month not to ‘take any action contrary to those restrictions.’” (POLITICO)

White House Plan to Close Guantanamo Bay Prison Won’t Change Much in Congress: “Regardless of the details, numerous political and legal challenges remain between Obama delivering Congress a game plan to shutter the facility and actually getting it done. . . . Chief among those hurdles is the fact the government has used Guantanamo for over 14 years to hold suspected terrorists, and most members of Congress don’t want to see those prisoners brought to the United States.” (The Washington Post)