President Obama said he'll seek the repeal of provisions in the new defense authorization bill barring the transfer of terrorist suspects to the U.S. for civilian trials.

Obama said he had signed the defense authorization bill despite its inclusion of a measure barring the use of funds to transfer prisoners away from the detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, for trials in the U.S.

But the president said he believed those provisions unconstitutionally interfered with his powers and that he would seek their repeal — leaving alive his stated goal of closing the U.S. military base in Cuba.

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"Despite my strong objection to these provisions, which my Administration has consistently opposed, I have signed this Act because of the importance of authorizing appropriations for, among other things, our military activities in 2011," Obama said in a statement. "Nevertheless, my Administration will work with the Congress to seek repeal of these restrictions, will seek to mitigate their effects, and will oppose any attempt to extend or expand them in the future."

Obama had signed an executive order to mandate the closing of the detention center shortly after taking office. But the administration never was able to forge an agreement with lawmakers on a new location in the continental U.S. to house the terror detainees, and the one year deadline to close Guantanamo came and passed.

It had been thought that the administration had resigned itself to leaving the base open, given the political difficulty in moving the prisoners. The new Republican-led House seems unlikely to authorize any such move.