NEW YORK -- The White House is planning to close controversial detention centre Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, according to a spokesman for the administration. Barack Obama campaigned on a pledge of closing the facility ahead of the 2008 election, but Congress has repeatedly block attempts to decommission the prison during his tenure in office.
Obama has called the closing of Guantanamo a 'national imperative'
White House press secretary Josh Earnest said on Wednesday that the administration is in the “final stages” of drafting a plan, adding that it remains a priority to close Guantanamo. Earnest noted that terrorists use Guantanamo Bay as a recruiting tool.
The prison, which holds terror suspects, currently houses 116 inmates and costs $100 million per year to maintain. US law does not allow prisoners to be transferred to facilities within the US, and requires 30 days’ notice for inmates to be moved from Cuba. More than 800 detainees have passed through Guantanamo since 2002.
Having been thwarted by Congress, plans have been mooted suggesting the President would use an executive action to close the facility, circumnavigating the ban on transferring detainees to the mainland.