Gitmo Policy Under the New Administration, Cont.
You can follow the earlier blog posts for my views on closing Guantanamo and the evolution of policy around it … but anyway, here is the latest, from the ABC Stephanapoulos interview with President-elect Obama.
President-elect Barack Obama said this weekend that he does not expect to close Guantanamo Bay in his first 100 days in office.
“I think it’s going to take some time and our legal teams are working in consultation with our national security apparatus as we speak to help design exactly what we need to do,” Obama said in anexclusive “This Week” interview with George Stephanopoulos, his first since arriving in Washington.
“It is more difficult than I think a lot of people realize,” the president-elect explained. “Part of the challenge that you have is that you have a bunch of folks that have been detained, many of whom may be very dangerous who have not been put on trial or have not gone through some adjudication. And some of the evidence against them may be tainted even though it’s true. And so how to balance creating a process that adheres to rule of law, habeas corpus, basic principles of Anglo-American legal system, by doing it in a way that doesn’t result in releasing people who are intent on blowing us up.”
But Obama said unequivocally that it will close. “I don’t want to be ambiguous about this. We are going to close Guantanamo and we are going to make sure that the procedures we set up are ones that abide by our Constitution. That is not only the right thing to do but it actually has to be part of our broader national security strategy because we will send a message to the world that we are serious about our values.”
Obama said that he is not ruling out prosecution for crimes committed by the Bush administration and left open the possibility of appointing a special prosecutor or commission to independently investigate abuses of power and illegal activity.