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Posts in "Guantanamo"
December 2, 2014
President Barack Obama told someone at a bookstore over the weekend he was working on closing the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, but he appears to be getting ready for what has become a traditional year-end cave on the issue.
It now seems all-but-certain the president will sign the National Defense Authorization Act, despite the expected inclusion of language effectively banning him from transferring Gitmo prisoners to U.S. soil — despite an earlier vow to veto such a bill.
October 10, 2014
Republicans are seizing on a report that President Barack Obama is considering ways to do an end-run around Congress to close the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to attack Democrats facing voters next month.
Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., was one of the first out of the gate, vowing to “shut down the Senate” if Obama tried to bring terrorists from Guantánamo to U.S. shores, after the Wall Street Journal reported Obama is considering overriding a congressional ban.
Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, quickly followed with a sharply worded statement, vowing to do “everything within our power” to keep terrorists from being transferred to the United States. Full story
June 3, 2014
The prisoner swap that freed Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl was legal, the White House insisted Tuesday, as President Barack Obama defended the deal at a news conference in Poland.
A statement from the White House said the president’s power under the Constitution trumps a law requiring Congress get 30 days notice.
“Delaying the transfer in order to provide the 30-day notice would interfere with the Executive’s performance of two related functions that the Constitution assigns to the President: protecting the lives of Americans abroad and protecting U.S. soldiers,” said Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the National Security Council. “Because such interference would significantly alter the balance between Congress and the President, and could even raise constitutional concerns, we believe it is fair to conclude that Congress did not intend that the Administration would be barred from taking the action it did in these circumstances.”
Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl could be prosecuted for the circumstances surrounding his capture by the Taliban, but is “innocent until proven guilty,” the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff suggested Tuesday.
“As for the circumstances of his capture, when he is able to provide them, we’ll learn the facts,” Gen. Martin E. Dempsey said in a statement. “Like any American, he is innocent until proven guilty. Our Army’s leaders will not look away from misconduct if it occurred. In the meantime, we will continue to care for him and his family.”
The statement, sent to reporters by the White House, comes as the administration tries to quell a burgeoning controversy over President Barack Obama’s decision to trade five prisoners from the military prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, to secure Bergdahl’s release.
Soldiers who served with Bergdahl have accused him of deserting his post before his capture, and said other soldiers were later killed trying to rescue him. Full story
May 21, 2014
President Barack Obama is playing hardball with Congress in an effort to close the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with White House warning Wednesday he “will veto” a defense bill that forces him to keep it open.
After announcing plans to close the facility in his first year in office, Obama caved to Congress on the issue year after year, signing defense bills that restrict his ability to transfer detainees or prosecute them on American soil. But with time starting to run out on his presidency, he’s apparently not going to roll over any more. Full story