White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest today sought to downplay the chances of President Obama actually fulfilling his campaign promise of closing Guantanamo Bay, saying it would be “very, very difficult” to follow through on.
Though the White House never addresses this, the promise is already long missed, as President Obama pledged to close it within a year immediately after taking office in early 2009.
Six years later, the facility still has 127 detainees, and most of them aren’t intended to ever be released, or indeed charged with any actual crimes. Earnest saw Congress as to blame, however, saying they had created “roadblocks” to closing the detention center.
Congress has tried to block releases of detainees in the past, and is aiming to push new legislation that would further limit the releases, even of detainees who have already been cleared years ago.
Though President Obama has often claimed he could circumvent Congress with executive action on myriad other issues, officials suggest that Gitmo isn’t one of them, and that Congress will remain the excuse for the site not being closed in the years to come.