Executive Order Being Prepped: PEBO to Close Gitmo

Jan 12, 2009 5:55pm

ABC News has learned that the Obama Transition Team is working on drafting an executive order for President-elect Obama to sign that would close down the Detention Camp at Guantanamo Bay.

The order could possibly be signed as soon as President-elect Obama’s first day in office, Jan. 20, and is likely to be signed that first week after he’s been sworn in.

The plans were first reported by the Associated Press.

During his presidential campaign, Mr. Obama called Gitmo a "sad chapter in American history" and pledged to shutter it as soon as he could.

On This Week, Mr. Obama told George Stephanopoulos that "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."

Mr. Obama said the process of closing the camp "is more difficult than I think a lot of people realize. 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 didn’t mince words about the future of the camp.

"I don’t want to be ambiguous about this," he said. "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."

– jpt

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