Senior Obama administration officials acknowledged for the first time that the prison housing suspected terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, is unlikely to close by the president's self-imposed January deadline.
Legal and logistical difficulties contributed to the administration's inability to meet their deadline, officials said late Friday. The officials told the AP that President Barack Obama remains to committed to shuttering the military prison, an act he pledged early in his tenure as commander-in-chief.
The Obama administration has experienced a multitude of roadblocks in their efforts to close the facility. The White House faced backlash from some Republican lawmakers after it was reported officials drafted a plan to transfer detainees to facilities on the U.S. mainland.
On Friday, the Washington Post reported the White House had re-shuffled their team handling the prison's closure, supplanting White House counsel Greg Craig as the point man on the issue.
Obama has maintained that closing the base is a crucial step in repairing America's image in the international community.
"Even White House officials are now acknowledging that there is still no alternative that will keep Americans as safe as housing detainees at that secure facility off our shores," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a written statement.
"Americans and a bipartisan majority in Congress will continue to reject any effort to close Guantanamo until there is a plan that keeps Americans as safe or safer than keeping detainees in the secure detention center," McConnell's statement said.