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Gates Orders Staff to Develop Plan for Closing Guantanamo

Gates Orders Staff to Develop Plan for Closing Guantanamo

SCOTUSblog is reporting:

In a move with a potentially major impact on the federal courts, the Pentagon announced Thursday that Defense Secretary Robert Gates — who will continue to hold that post in the new Obama Administration — has ordered staff aides to draw up a plan for closing the military detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

That facility is at the center of ongoing disputes at all levels of the federal courts over the Bush Administration’s detention policy.  Closure of the prison at Guantanamo could mean wholesale changes in the law as it applies to detainees there.  It could lead to new legislation on the issue.

The new plan was announced by the Pentagon’s press secretary, Geoff Morrell, at a press conference.  The transcript is not yet available, but extensive quotations from Morrell are included in this report by the Voice of America.

Morrell was quoted as saying: “Fundamentally, the motivation for the secretary in this respect is not just the fact that he believes closure is the right thing, but that the president-elect has made it perfectly clear throughout the course of the campaign that he wishes to address this issue early on in his administration.  And so the secretary wants to be prepared to assist him in trying to figure out a solution to this thorny problem.”

This is a good move.

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Anthony Clark Arend is Professor of Government and Foreign Service at Georgetown University and the Director of the Master of Science in Foreign Service in the Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Commentary and analysis at the intersection of international law and politics.