Dafna Linzer writes at Propublica that the review process for detainees at Guantanamo is “painstakingly slow”. She also writes this little tidbit of information:
Officials with knowledge of that work said it has become complicated by a federal court ruling in April to give some detainees held by the military in Bagram, Afghanistan access to U.S. courts. The administration is appealing the ruling, but officials are concerned that they may be creating a system for an expanding, rather than contracting population.
Despite the hype about Obama’s declaration that he would close “Gitmo”, his actual policies on detention are remarkably similar to Bush’s.In a separate article, Linzer and Peter Finn write:
The Obama administration, fearing a battle with Congress that could stall plans to close Guantanamo, is drafting an executive order that would reassert presidential authority to incarcerate suspected terrorists indefinitely, according to three senior government officials with knowledge of White House deliberations.
Such an order would embrace claims by former President George W. Bush that certain people can be detained without trial for long periods under the laws of war.
A version of the article appeared in the Washington Post. Additionally, Linzer wrote:
Concerns are growing among Obama’s advisers that Congress may try to assert too much control over the process. Earlier this week, Obama signed an appropriations bill that forces the administration to report to Congress before moving any detainee out of Guantanamo and prevents the White House from using available funds to move detainees onto U.S. soil.
“Legislation could kill Obama’s plans,” said one government official involved. The official said an executive order could be the best option for the president at this juncture.
Well, I guess we could always move them to Bagram…
In a May speech, President Obama broached the need for a system of long-term detention and suggested that it would include congressional and judicial oversight. “We must recognize that these detention policies cannot be unbounded. They can’t be based simply on what I or the executive branch decide alone,” he said.
Of course, Obama knew that when he signed the EO. Funny, how when the president wants to detain prisoners, he claims executive authority to do so indefinately. And yet, when it comes to releasing them or otherwise giving them their day in court, suddenly presidential authority isn’t enough. Fascinating.