Executive order might keep Gitmo inmates

The Obama administration is considering issuing an executive order that would allow the government to indefinitely detain some of the prisoners now at Guantanamo Bay, according to published reports on Friday evening.

The White House downplayed the reports on Friday evening, saying an order is far from finalized, but according to reports in the Washington Post and Associated Press the administration is weighing such an action in part because of the tough negotiations thus far with Congress over the issue.

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Obama has pushed to close the military prison by the end of his first year in office and fulfill a pledge that was one of the hallmarks of his presidential campaign. Congress, however, has refused to provide money in appropriations bills that could be used to transfer and imprison detainees on American soil. Foreign governments have been reluctant to take in any of the prisoners now at Guantanamo Bay.

The issue also threatens to drive a wedge between the president and members of his own party who are skittish or outright opposed to the prospect of transferring detainees to prisons in their districts and states.

Human rights and civil liberties groups are adamantly opposed to the prolonged or indefinite detention and have pushed hard on Congress and the administration to resolve the issue.