Denis McDonough, White House Chief of Staff, addressed the outstanding issue of President Obama’s campaign promise to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay. McDonough’s statement were made during his appearance on “Fox News Sunday” today.
Obama will present a plan to Congress about steps to close the facility, and seek its approval, McDonough said. He added that lack of Congressional action would lead to further evaluation of options.
“He feels an obligation to the next president. He will fix this so that they don’t have to be confronted with the same set of challenges,” McDonough said.
The prison at Guantanamo has earned notoriety over the years for housing one of the masterminds of the 9-11 attack, among other high value captures terrorists, and for controversial practices that some believe are inhumane and border on torture.
In some cases, the administration has transferred prison detainees to other countries. But there is a small number of detainees who the administration says it would like to detain in a U.S. facility for national security reasons.
Congress has explicitly banned the transfer of detainees to the US.
McDonough gave no indication whether the closing of the prison located at Guantanamo Bay is connected to a wider effort to return the naval base – known as GTMO – to Cuba. Guantanamo Bay’s return is among the top of Cuba’s demands it feels are necessary to resolve the remaining issues between the US and Cuba.