Pentagon: Plan to close Guantánamo coming after August recess

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The Pentagon said Monday it will submit a plan to lawmakers on closing the Guantánamo Bay detention facility “sometime” after Congress comes back from its August recess. 

“We would expect it to go up sometime after recess,” said Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis. “It’s still in progress, it’s very close to completion.” 

The Pentagon has finished drafting its plan on how it would close the facility, but it is waiting for other government agencies to sign off before briefing it to Congress, Davis said. 

“We’re still in a holding pattern on that,” Davis said. “It may come from here, but it reflects interagency input, because it’s not just Department of Defense.” 

“It impacts the State Department, it impacts the Department of Justice, and it impacts the intelligence community as well, so we’re all involved in it together,” he added. 

The White House promised to send Congress a plan to close the facility after Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz.) included a path to close the facility in the Senate’s version of the annual National Defense Authorization Act, contingent upon the administration’s submission of a plan. 

The House’s version would increase restrictions on transferring the 116 detainees there currently, and make it unlikely the Obama administration would be able to fulfill its campaign promise to close the facility. 

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, who is required by law to personally sign off on each transfer, is reportedly under increasing pressure from the White House to transfer the 52 who have been deemed eligible for transfer. 

Last month, national security adviser Susan Rice gave Carter an unsigned National Security Council memo that said he would have 30 days to make decisions on newly proposed transfers, according to The New York Times.  

And according to the Daily Beast, there are as many four proposed transfers making their way to Carter’s desk for approval. 

On Monday, the Pentagon said Carter and the Pentagon “continue to support” the president’s goal of closing the facility. 

“The Secretary and this department continue to support the president’s goal of closing Guantanamo Bay, and we’re working to make a plan that will do that,” Davis said.   

Tags detainee Gitmo GTMO Guantanamo

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