W.H.: Closing Gitmo ‘Would Make Us Safer’

‘That ultimately is what the president is focused on, which is keeping the country safe, and closing the prison at Guantanamo Bay would make us safer, and that’s why it’s a priority’

UNKNOWN REPORTER: “One of the things that is really outstanding on the president’s agenda and has been since the day after he took office is Guantanamo Bay. What is the status of consideration there when it comes to the constitutionality of the president taking unilateral action or executive orders? Are those under consideration?”
EARNEST: “Well, first let me just note [indecipherable] that there is — that the Department of Defense has announced the transfer of an additional Guantanamo detainee to Kuwait. This individual was approved for transfer by the periodic review board just last fall, and that actually brings now the number of Guantanamo detainees to 104. And it’s a good illustration of our effort to chip away at the population there, and to try to resolve these individual cases in a way that is consistent with our national security interests. That ultimately is what the president is focused on, which is keeping the country safe, and closing the prison at Guantanamo bay would make us safer, and that’s why it’s a priority. As it relates to the president’s executive authority, in accomplishing that goal, you know, the president talked about this at his news conference that he convened, you know, three weeks or so ago today in fact, to say that his focus right now is getting Congress to remove the obstacles they have put in place of closing the prison, and certainly wouldn’t take any executive options that may or may not be available off the table. OK? All right. Gardner.”

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