Obama will order closure of Guantanamo prison

The Associated Press reports that, as one of his first official acts, the president-elect will issue an executive order closing the facility.

Published January 12, 2009 8:25PM (EST)

On Sunday, Barack Obama told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that it probably wouldn't be possible to close the infamous U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay within the first 100 days of his administration. Some observers immediately took this as a sign the president-elect was backing away from his campaign promises on the issue, and that he wouldn't make the closure a priority. Naturally, this engendered some predictable crowing from the right.

In what certainly seems like a response to the response, on Monday Obama advisors told the Associated Press that an executive order ordering the facility's closure "is expected during Obama's first week on the job -- and possibly on his first day."

Now, that doesn't mean the prison will actually be closed immediately. The AP notes that "Obama's order will direct his administration to figure out what to do with the estimated 250 al-Qaida and Taliban suspects and potential witnesses who are being held at Guantanamo." That's likely to be a complicated job, and various solutions will surely meet with opposition.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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