Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Column Shows Momentum for and Republican Barriers to Closing Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Column Shows Momentum for and Republican Barriers to Closing Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp

Washington, D.C. — With President Barack Obama using the annual State of the Union address to renew his intention to close the Guantanamo Bay detention camp, the Center for American Progress has released a column showing that, despite an increase in momentum, Republican roadblocks could prevent its closing.

Recent events indicate that closing Guantanamo has newfound momentum. The pace of prison transfers has dramatically increased, with more transfers taking place in the past two months than in the previous three years combined. Several high ranking former officials with connections to the prison have come out in support of closing it down, including the recent comments of retired Major General Michael R. Lehnert who helped create the prison as its first commander.

However, Republican efforts in the Senate are attempting to stymie that momentum. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) introduced legislation that would have the effect of halting all transfers from the prison for two years, even of those already slated for transfer. The legislation has the backing of several prominent members of Congress, including Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) who was in favor of closing the prison as a presidential candidate in 2008.

“The prison at Guantanamo is a multimillion-dollar waste of taxpayer money that is a black mark on the American justice system and has done nothing but inspire jihadists and extremists around the world,” said CAP Senior Fellow Ken Gude, the author of the column. “Despite calls from many to close the camp, including from its founding general, Republicans in the Senate are making moves to ensure that the president has no ability to safely and securely close this facility. It is well past time to close the prison and the president should stand firm against attempts to tie his hands.”

Click here to read the column.

For more information, contact Tom Caiazza at [email protected] or 202.481.7141.