Another Democrat in office, another plan to close Guantanamo.
President Biden is reviewing the state of the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, with the hope of shutting down the notorious lockup housing about 40 suspected terrorists, including 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammad.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said it was the “goal” and “intention” of the Biden administration to close the facility, a promise President Obama made when he took office in January 2009, Reuters reported.
Obama repeated the closing goal multiple times during his two terms but was never able to find a path to a shutdown because of legal and political obstacles.
In contrast, President Trump signed an executive order to keep the prison open.
Biden does not have a timeline, but Psaki said the administration is launching a “formal review” that will be “robust” and would require input from multiple agencies, including the Department of Defense and Justice Department, along with some agencies that aren’t yet staffed with his appointees.
The US opened the detention center in January 2002, in the aftermath of 9/11, to hold people accused of ties to al-Qaida and the Taliban. It became a source of international criticism over the mistreatment of prisoners and the prolonged imprisonment of people without charge.
Biden said during the campaign he wanted to close Guantanamo. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said so as well in written testimony for his Senate confirmation.